Community designation


The Rural Renewal Stream addresses current labour needs and skill shortages in rural Alberta communities and helps newcomers settle into the community. This stream requires a community to apply to the Government of Alberta for community designation.

This stream is community-driven. A candidate must be endorsed by a designated community and meet all criteria for the Rural Renewal Stream. Do not apply to the province of Alberta if you do not have a community support letter.

Once designated, the community then works with employers to attract and recruit newcomers and collaborates with a settlement providing organization to retain newcomers by sharing information on settlement supports. This may include accommodation, education, health care and services such as language training.


Community designation

Interested communities fill out a Community Designation Application form. Additional points will be awarded for communities with less than 10,000 residents. Once a community is designated, they will be able to attract, recruit and retain newcomers using this stream.

Mandatory requirements

An application will only be evaluated if all of the mandatory requirements below are met:

  • rural communities with a population less than 100,000
    • rural communities in the same economic region may form a partnership to submit an application
    • census 2016 figures will be the reference year for population count
    • communities must fall outside of the Calgary and Edmonton census metropolitan area
  • one or more employers are interested in participating and have permanent (minimum 12 months), full-time, non-seasonal employment available
  • an endorsement letter of support from the community or town council
  • application is signed and submitted by the economic development organization with a primary function in economic development
    • includes an economic development plan or similar document (does not need to be current)
  • an endorsement letter of support from a settlement providing organization (does not need to be local) that collaborates with the community to identify and plan for settlement needs for successful integration of newcomers into the community

Uses not allowed

The Rural Renewal Stream cannot be used for:

  • recruiting part-time or seasonal workers
  • individuals nominated under the stream will still need to be licensed by the respective Provincial Regulatory Organization (PRO) if their occupation is regulated or meet Alberta industry trade standards for a specific trade in Alberta
  • Regulated occupations in Alberta
  • Industry trade standards in Alberta
  • Permanent residency approval is still required by the Government of Canada


How to apply

Before you apply
Communities must have the capacity to attract, recruit and welcome newcomers in order to participate in the Rural Renewal Stream. A Rural Renewal Stream candidate is a foreign national who does not have permanent residence or Canadian citizenship. This person could be living in or outside of Canada.

Refer to the Rural Renewal Stream Factsheet (PDF, 169 KB)

Community requirements

Communities will be responsible for:

  • identifying and working with community employers that have permanent (minimum of 12 months, full-time, non-seasonal) jobs that need to be filled
  • collaborating with a settlement providing organization to identify and plan for some of the settlement needs within the community
    • the community should meet with the settlement providing organization prior to applying for designation to discuss and outline their respective roles
    • these outcomes should be included in the endorsement letter
  • developing additional criteria (optional) to recruit foreign nationals
    • this could include narrowing down the occupations that the community is interested in recruiting
  • responding to foreign national inquiries while community is actively recruiting
  • collaborating with employers on selecting and endorsing the foreign national
  • developing and implementing a plan for welcoming and settling foreign national(s) to the community

There is no direct funding for the Rural Renewal Stream. However, the Government of Alberta offers grants to support capacity building of small centre or rural areas to attract, welcome and retain newcomers in rural Alberta. These grants are part of an annual call for proposals that support community capacity building.

Learn more about these grants

Complete the application form
An economic development organization fills out the application in partnership with the community.

Rural Renewal Community Designation Application form (PDF, 135 KB)
Note: Incomplete applications and/or applications that do not have all of the mandatory requirements will not be evaluated.

Endorsement support letter from settlement providing organizations
The letter should outline the following on the official letterhead:

name and address of the settlement providing organization
outline the collaboration between the community and settlement providing organization
include types of settlement information and support they will offer in collaboration with the community to the newcomers and their families
name, title and contact information of the person issuing the endorsement letter
Endorsement support letter from participating town or municipal councils
The letter should outline the following on the official letterhead:

name and address of the participating town or municipality supporting the application
participating town/municipality acknowledges support for this project and the meeting date that this project was discussed
participating town or municipality acknowledges that their community name will be posted on the Government of Alberta website should their community become designated
name, title and contact information of the person issuing the endorsement letter
Submit the application
The completed application and supporting documents need to be submitted for designation by email to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The initial intake will designate a limited number of communities depending on the quality of proposals. Intake for this designation is open (communities can submit at any time) until the province designates sufficient number of communities to proceed or until February 16, 2023, whichever comes first.

Applications will be evaluated on a points system (points for each category are noted in the application). Communities must score a minimum of 150 points in order to be considered for designation. In the event that multiple applications are received at the same time, selection will be based on top scores.

After you have submitted
Government of Alberta representatives will review the initial application and let the applicant know if the application is complete (all sections of the application are fully completed and all mandatories have been provided/met). The amount of time this review will take will depend on the volume of applications.

Once the application has been reviewed and deemed complete, the applicant will receive an email confirming the official date of submission. At this point, the application cannot be altered.

The application will be evaluated and a government representative will contact the community to indicate the status of the application within 4 weeks of the official submission date. The applicant will be notified if more time is needed and will be notified of the outcome of the application via email.

Community designation will last 3 years to the date that the community received email confirmation of designation. There will be an option to extend the designation by an additional 2 years to a maximum of 5 years.

Designated communities
City of Brooks (including: Town of Bassano, Village of Duchess, County of Newell, Village of Rosemary)
City of Grande Prairie
County of Grande Prairie (including: Town of Sexsmith, Town of Wembley)
Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo
Town of Innisfail
Town of Taber (including: Municipal District of Taber, Town of Vauxhall)
Town of Trochu
Town of Whitecourt
Municipal District of Smoky River (including: Town of Falher, Town of McLennan, Village of Donnelly, Village of Girouxville)
Municipality of Jasper
After receiving designation
Attract and recruit
A designated community, in partnership with their local economic development organization and participating employers, are responsible for recruiting foreign nationals. Candidates may be recruited from within Alberta, Canada or outside of Canada.

Candidates that are currently living in Canada are only eligible if they have legal status in Canada. If the community is recruiting outside Canada, all federal immigration rules and regulations apply. The Government of Alberta will not compensate the community for any recruitment costs.

The community partnership reviews candidate applications to ensure candidates meet all criteria, including the program eligibility. Communities may choose to have additional criteria separate from the mandatory criteria. This can include a particular skill set or certain occupations that help the community fill a specific labour need.

The employer provides a job offer to the successful candidate and the community endorses the newcomer.

Select and endorse newcomers
An endorsement of candidate letter is issued to the candidate chosen by the community for the Rural Renewal Stream.

Content for the endorsement of candidate letter
The letter must be on the official letterhead and issued by the local economic development organization of the community and must outline the following:

name and address of the economic development organization supporting the application
candidate’s full name and residential address
details of the bona fide job offer:
name of the business
name and contact information of the employer
location of employment
position and description of job duties
duration of employment and work conditions
detailed description of how filling the position offered aligns with the economic growth of the designated community
the employer’s efforts to fill the position within Canada and outcomes
name, title and contact information of the person issuing the endorsement of the candidate
The candidate submits their application through the AAIP Portal ensuring all criteria for Rural Renewal Stream is met. There is a non-refundable application fee for this stream. The application will be reviewed and the candidate will be notified if they are eligible for nomination.

While the permanent residency application is being processed, the candidate can request a 204(c) Letter of Support to apply for a temporary work permit to allow them to start working in the designated community.

Permanent residency
Nominee applies to Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada for permanent residency

The federal government makes the final decision on permanent residency applications. A nomination by the province does not guarantee an approved permanent residency application.

Welcome and integrate newcomers
It is the responsibility of the community to identify what kind of settlement supports they will offer in collaboration with the settlement providing organization to help the candidate and their family settle into the community.

Alberta Municipalities has resources around welcoming and inclusive communities.
Alberta Association of Immigrant Serving Agencies has a list of immigration serving organizations.
Pre-arrival settlement services are available through the federal government for permanent residents. The province has some services available for nominated temporary residents in Canada with a valid work permit.

Make Alberta your home
Community evaluation
An evaluation of the community designation may be conducted at the end of the designation period. The community will need to participate in the evaluation by providing information as requested.

Connect with us if you have questions about this program:
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.