In 2022, Alberta’s government created the Northern and Regional Economic Development (NRED) program, which provides grants of up to $200,000 to Alberta municipalities, non-profit organizations and Indigenous communities for projects that support regional economic growth and diversification. To date, the program has helped 70 organizations grow and fuel economic development and prosperity across Alberta.

As part of Budget 2023, the NRED program is receiving $9 million over the next three years to support even more projects that help deliver business supports, boost labour force attraction and retention, enhance Alberta’s tourism and build capacity for economic growth. In 2022-23, the government invested $5.1 million in 70 projects. This includes nearly $2 million for 26 projects that support the unique needs of northern Alberta and Indigenous communities.  

“Alberta’s government is excited to partner with municipalities, organizations and Indigenous groups throughout the province to support projects that serve the diverse needs of local communities and economies. The NRED program is playing an important role in our province by creating opportunities for economic growth and diversification in all corners of the province.”

Matt Jones, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade

Investment outreach for Indigenous landowners and a northern conference are just some of the creative projects now funded under the NRED program. One grant will enable Indigenous landowners on the Frog Lake First Nation to develop a business feasibility study and investment outreach strategy to determine the viability of a manufacturing facility. Another will support entrepreneurs in tourism in east-central Alberta.

“The NRED program is a very timely and important step for us to increase the much-needed support and training for tourism operators across the regions of Lakeland and east-central Alberta. In addition to this, it will enhance our team’s ability to ensure ongoing tourism development in the region and help grow the visitor economy for long-term success across all areas east of Edmonton.”

Kevin Kisilevich, director of marketing and development, Go East Regional Tourism Organization

The additional investment in the NRED program is part of a range of economic programs to support northern and rural regions under Budget 2023. This includes an additional $350,000 annually to the Northern Alberta Development Council Bursary program, for a total of almost $1.9 million annually over the next three years, to ensure continued support to grow the number of students and skilled workers in Alberta’s north.

Alberta’s regional economic development alliances (REDAs) have also received a total of $1.125 million in 2022-23 to continue their work to advance regional economic development in their regions. Some REDAs also received funding through the NRED program to support the development of tailored solutions that meet their regional economic development priorities.

Quick facts

  • In 2022-23, the NRED program invested a total of $5.1 million in 70 projects that support regional economic growth and diversification. This includes:
    • $1.95 million to 26 projects based in northern Alberta and Indigenous communities, including First Nations and Metis Settlements.
    • $3.15 million to 44 projects based outside of northern Alberta and Indigenous communities.
  • The program provides up to 50 per cent of total eligible project costs. Projects led by Indigenous communities will receive up to 75 per cent of total eligible project costs.