Freedom to care – Apply for a new regulatory exemption

How to apply for a one-time, short-term exemption from regulations – if an exemption does not already exist.

First steps

Before you apply for an exemption from regulations, make sure you do this:

  1. Review the government’s existing exemptions (online tool).
  2. If the exemption you are seeking is listed in the online tool, follow the instructions specified for that exemption.
  3. If the exemption is not listed, review this page thoroughly.

Exemption applications

The application process for a new regulatory exemption cannot be used to appeal decisions made about existing exemptions (those listed in the online tool).

Exemption reviews

All exemption applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


Non-profits have identified challenges with navigating the Government of Alberta’s regulatory environment, including that there are no existing exemptions for some regulations.

Under the Freedom to Care Act, the government has responded: It has created an online application form that non-profits can use to apply for one-time, short-term exemptions from regulations – but only if an exemption does not already exist.

Fact sheet: Exemption to Regulatory Requirements


To apply for a new exemption from regulations, your organization must meet the definition of a non-profit:


The Freedom to Care Act defines non-profit as those with a charitable purpose, operating primarily for public benefit. ‘Charitable purpose’ includes not-for-profit activities that are:

  • benevolent, philanthropic, civic, educational, humane, religious, cultural, artistic, recreational or environmental
  • associated with health, welfare, sport or tourism


Each application for a new exemption is assessed against the following:

  • alignment with prevailing legislation – the applied for exemption does not contradict or violate the prevailing legislation (in other words, the act)
  • benefits, impacts and/or risks to each of these:
    • public health and safety
    • environment
    • society and culture
    • public security
    • administrative or compliance costs to the organization
    • government savings
    • benefits to other organizations
    • stakeholders

Guide for applicants

This guide gives you additional information to help you complete an exemption application.


These definitions also relate to applying for a new exemption:

Member benefit

Member benefit organizations tend to have a mission focused on serving their members and programs – and their services and resources may be restricted to members only.

Examples include trade associations, private clubs, and associations whose members are primarily for-profit entities.

Public benefit

Public benefit refers to organizations who have a mission to serve the public; they operate for the good of the public and reinvest excess revenue back into meeting their mission.

Examples include charities and non-profits.


Stakeholders can include paid employees, volunteers, members, beneficiaries of your services – customers, clients, recipient, program participants, and so on – donors, funders, parties of contracts or agreements, other non-profits, partners, collaborators and communities.

Expected benefits, risks and/or impacts

When you apply for a new exemption from regulations, you are encouraged to consider and include any expected benefits, risks and/or impacts – in the following areas – that could occur as a result of being granted an exemption:

Public health and safety

Will there be any benefits, risks or impacts to public health; human, animal or plant health; product safety or consumer protection; occupational health and safety; and recreational safety?


Will there be any environmental benefits, risks or impacts?

Society and culture

Will there be any benefits, impacts or risks to people’s way of life, culture, community, political systems, well-being, personal and property rights, fears and aspirations, or ethical concerns?

Will there be any benefits to marginalized populations – LGBTQ2S+, persons with disabilities, low income, black, Indigenous and people of colour, and/or other minorities – and diversity and inclusion efforts.

Public security

Will there be any benefits, risks or impacts to safety and security, transportation and travel safety, policing, emergencies and disasters, family and home safety, financial security, and Internet security.

Administrative and compliance costs

Will there be any reductions or increases in administrative or compliance costs to your organization?

Government savings

Will there be any benefits (savings), impacts (costs) or risks for the Government of Alberta?

Benefits to other organizations

Will any other organizations benefit by or be negatively impacted by your organization being granted an exemption?

Application form

To apply for a new exemption from regulation for your non-profit, you need to fill out a detailed online application form.

Before you apply

  1. Make sure you have reviewed this page thoroughly.
  2. Prepare a draft of your application by filling out the Application for New Regulatory Exemption – Guide and Worksheet.

When you are satisfied with your draft application, you can transfer your responses into the online application form.

Apply online

After you submit an application

This 4-step process will be initiated:

  1. A navigator will be assigned to action your application. The navigator will review your application, determine the ministry responsible for the specific regulation and initiate the application review process with the appropriate ministry.
  2. The navigator will acknowledge receipt of your application and inform you about which ministry the application has been transferred to.
  3. The respective ministry will review and assess the application and determine whether to move it forward to Cabinet for exemption.
  4. The ministry reviewing your application will inform your organization whether your application has been approved or declined, as well as the rationale for any decisions.

Each application will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The timeline to assess an application will depend on the:

  • complexity of the application
  • level of analysis required