by Morinville News Staff

Municipalities and organizations that work together on economic development projects that diversify and grow the local economy will receive government assistance through the Alberta Jobs Plan; the province announced Sept. 7.

The new Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program will provide access to $30 million over the next two years, money the province says will help pay for locally-developed projects that promote long-term economic growth and diversification, particularly projects municipalities could not necessarily fund on their own.

The bulk of the fund – $26.45 million – is earmarked for communities, regions, municipalities and other eligible organizations. Another $2.2 million is allocated for Regional Economic Development Alliances to enhance existing initiatives. A further $600,000 will go to four Rural Alberta Business Centres to support 2016-17 operations, and another $750,000 will be used by the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo to support the Back to Business Resource Centre and business recovery expos in Fort McMurray.

“Business and community leaders across the province helped us create the Alberta Jobs Plan,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade in a release Wednesday. “This new support will put homegrown projects and economic development plans into action and help ensure Alberta’s cities and towns continue to be Canada’s best places to do business.”

Municipalities, communities, and organizations can apply for grants through the CARES program online starting Oct. 1.

Eligible projects must Improve the local business environment and regional economic collaboration, provide more support for entrepreneurs to grow and succeed, support industries with a strong potential to diversify, and attract investment that drives high-value job creation.

The government says the CARES Program will have three grant application intake periods beginning Oct. 1 and ending Nov. 30.

For more information on program eligibility criteria and how to apply, visit the CARES program website at http://www.alberta.ca/community-regional-economic-support-program.aspx.

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