Supporting Alberta’s rural communities

Supporting Alberta’s rural communities
Dec 15, 2022

The Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan has five strategic directions

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Alberta’s government is supporting economic growth in rural communities through a five-year plan.

Agriculture and Irrigation Minister Nate Horner unveiled the Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan on Dec. 14 following a year of engagement with different stakeholders.

“Many of the economic challenges and barriers in rural Alberta are unique and quite different from challenges other areas of the province face,” Horner said on Wednesday. “Through the engagement phase, we heard that supporting sustainable rural growth and diversification required a different approach.”

The plan consists of five strategic directions: infrastructure, business and entrepreneurship, labour force and skills development, marketing and promoting rural tourism, and rural economic capacity building.

In terms of rural business supports and entrepreneurship, for example, the government is establishing new targets and updated the Alberta Agri-Food Investment and Growth Strategy.

Previous announcements, like the $390-million Alberta Broadband Strategy and the $59-million investment into expanding capacity at the University of Calgary’s veterinary program, will support the plan.

Alberta’s rural communities play a major part in the province’s overall success, Horner said.

“Rural Alberta continues to drive continues to drive economic growth with 41 per cent of the public and private investment in the province and 26 per cent of the provincial GDP,” he said.

One new action the government is taking is is investing into $125,000 to each of the province’s nine Regional Economic Development Alliances (REDA).

The members of each REDA “promote long-term economic development and prosperity in their region and collaborate on projects that they could not necessarily don on their own,” the Alberta Government website says.

“Funding for REDAs is one of the top priorities of my ministry,” Brian Jean, Alberta’s minister of jobs, economy and northern development, said during Wednesday’s announcement. “Providing this additional support will help REDAs continue their important work of enabling municipalities and partners to work together on projects that fuel economic growth across Alberta.”

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