First steps underway for promised Alberta rural immigration programs, government says

Shelby Thevenot, Stephen Smith
Published: July 31, 2019

Consultations will begin later this year on two Alberta immigration programs that were promised by the province's new premier, Jason Kenney, during the recent general election. 

The province's immigration department is currently working on program design and "continues to explore various options," spokesperson Gurshan Dhillon told CIC News

Consultations on the programs will begin in the fall of 2019 with stakeholders such as employers, settlement organizations, experts and immigrants who are already established in Alberta.

Kenney, who served as Canada’s immigration minister from 2008 to 2013, pledged to create the Rural Renewal Program and the Rural Entrepreneur Immigration Program if elected in order to “use the power” of immigration to revitalize smaller communities around the province.

A news release issued by Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) in February said the proposed programs would help bring skilled foreign workers and entrepreneurs to rural Alberta communities such as Brooks and Wood Buffalo.

Kenney said both pathways could channel a combined 40,000 new permanent residents to these communities over the UCP's first four years in office — 32,000 through the Rural Renewal Program and 8,000 through the Rural Entrepreneur Immigration Program.

Rural Renewal Program

The province of Manitoba’s success in attracting and retaining immigrants in rural communities through programs like the Morden Community Initiative is a model that the UCP said it wanted to draw on for the Rural Renewal Progam.

Around 20 per cent of all newcomers to Manitoba settle in rural communities around the province and communities like Morden have seen their populations grow significantly as a result.

On the campaign trail, Kenney said the Rural Renewal Progam would be linked to the federal Express Entry system, which is Canada’s principal source of skilled foreign labour. 

Find out if you are eligible to enter the Express Entry pool

Express Entry manages the pool of candidates for three of Canada’s main economic-class immigration programs — the Federal Skilled Worker ClassFederal Skilled Trades Class and Canadian Experience Class.

Candidates are ranked in the Express Entry pool based on a score awarded for factors such as age, education, skilled work experience and proficiency in English or French, and those with a provincial nomination receive an additional 600 points.

Alberta has an existing Express Entry-aligned provincial nominee stream, Alberta Express Entry, but the government did not say if it would be linked to the proposed Rural Renewal Program.

Rural Entrepreneur Immigration Program

As to the Rural Entrepreneur Immigration Program, Kenney’s campaign-trail promise gave it a goal of welcoming 500 experienced immigrant entrepreneurs and their families each year.

Among the program’s potential criteria, prospective entrepreneurs would have to meet minimum investment and net worth thresholds and commit to actively managing and operating a business in which they have at least 51 per cent ownership.

Successful applicants would receive a two-year temporary work permit and could later be eligible for a provincial nomination for permanent residence if certain terms are met.

Subscribe to the CIC News Canada Immigration Newsletter

© 2019 CIC News All Rights Reserved

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Related articles
Newcomer access to credit in Canada improves over time, according to new study
newcomer credit article september 2023
Canada’s non-permanent resident population is 2.2 million people
Statistics Canada has released new data on the number of NPRs.
How long does it take for Canada to process visa applications from India?
A picture of a Canadian visa
IRCC invites candidates in first ever category-based Express Entry draw for agriculture and agri-food occupations
Waterfall near Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Top Stories
Parental education and income have positive effect on educational attainment of childhood immigrants
Newcomer access to credit in Canada improves over time, according to new study
IRCC to introduce new automated tools for faster PGWP and work permit extension processing
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Work
IRCC to introduce new automated tools for faster PGWP and work permit extension processing
A woman looks into a camera with two professional looking people behind her. IRCC is set to introduce new automated tools to assist with PGWP and WP processing.
How to immigrate to Canada as a transport worker
Happy truck driver looking through side window while driving his truck
Top 10 questions about Canada’s work permit process
Toronto skyline
Canada ranked the most attractive destination for immigrant entrepreneurs in 2023
Link copied to clipboard