The Northern and Regional Economic Development (NRED) program was created in 2022 to help attract job-creating investment and support economic growth and diversification across Alberta. Eligible projects can receive funding of up to $200,000 to help deliver business supports, increase labour force attraction and retention, enhance tourism and build capacity for economic growth. A new intake is now open for the NRED program and applications will be accepted until Dec. 20.

“Alberta’s government is committed to economic growth and diversification in every part of Alberta. This is exemplified by the NRED program. We look forward to working closely with the next cohort of successful NRED applicants from across the province to help them achieve their goals.”

Matt Jones, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Trade

“I am pleased to witness the NRED program's continued investment in our province. This funding will empower local organizations to foster tourism and enhance community development, ultimately driving economic growth in northern Alberta and across the province."

Tany Yao, parliamentary secretary for small business and northern development

The $9 million in funding is available through Budget 2023 over the next three years and is part of a four-year $14-million investment. Since the budget passed in March, $5 million has been allocated for projects in communities around the province, including $200,000 to transform the Arts Council Wood Buffalo property in downtown Fort McMurray into a creative hub to drive economic opportunities, $40,000 to the Trails Tourism Initiative to enhance the outdoor adventure tourist experience in Hinton and more than $72,000 for the Cold Lake First Nations Fire Training Centre to deliver programming that supports training and labour skill development.

"The NRED grant has enabled Arts Council Wood Buffalo to complete the design phase of the Arts INCubator Project. This has provided numerous local contractors with opportunities and will continue to bolster our community's economic well-being as the project progresses. Upon completion, the Arts INC Campus will empower local creatives and businesses to harness their creativity and drive regional economic growth in Fort McMurray and the Wood Buffalo region."

Liana Wheeldon, executive director, Arts Council Wood Buffalo

The NRED program is one of several programs to support northern and regional economic development across the province. Other economic programs and supports include $500,000 annually in bursary funding to help grow the number of students and skilled workers in Alberta’s north and providing $1.25 million to the nine regional economic development alliances, which will help each of them support economic and job growth in their regions.

Quick facts

  • The NRED 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.
  • Approved applicants are eligible to receive between $20,000 and $200,000 per project.
  • The NRED program supports projects that focus on five key areas:
    • investment in economic development infrastructure
    • business supports
    • labour force attraction and retention
    • tourism planning, capacity building and infrastructure
    • economic development capacity building
  • There are two funding streams under the program.
    • Northern Development and Indigenous Stream: Open to eligible projects based in northern Alberta and to Indigenous applicants, including First Nations and Metis Settlements.
    • Regional Development Stream: Open to eligible projects based outside of northern Alberta and to non-Indigenous applicants.
  • In 2022-23, the NRED program invested a total of $5.1 million in 70 projects that supported regional economic growth and diversification. This includes:
  • $1.95 million to 26 projects based in northern Alberta and Indigenous communities.
  • $3.15 million to 44 projects based outside of northern Alberta and Indigenous communities.

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