DIDSBURY - Town council has instructed administration to apply and sign up for the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program and to join Central Alberta Economic Partnership’s regional efforts to position the region and its communities as the best place for the program.
The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program is a new program implemented by the province to address the current labour shortage.
Part of the program is the ‘rural entrepreneurship stream’ that provides a pathway aimed at attracting foreign, qualified entrepreneurs to invest in new or existing businesses in rural Alberta.
“The stream is an economic immigration pathway that allows the province of Alberta to nominate qualified and capable immigrant entrepreneurs who want to start a new or buy an existing business,” Ethan Gorner, the Town of Didsbury's chief administrative officer, told council during the March 8 regular meeting.
“Nominees must have the skills and abilities to fill labour shortages or demonstrate they have the skills to own and operate a business in Alberta. Nominees must also demonstrate they have the ability to economically establish and support themselves and their families while living and working in Alberta.”
The provincial and federal governments jointly administer the program.
Under the rural entrepreneur stream, interested communities designate a community contact person and a community representative.
The community contact person will field inquires from entrepreneurs and gather the necessary information for the community representative to make a decision on whether to invite an entrepreneur for an exploratory visit to the community.
“Each community will establish its own selection process and will determine if the community is supportive of the entrepreneur and their business venture. As each community will have first-hand knowledge on their community’s demographics, labour market gaps and needs, the community is in the best position to communicate to the entrepreneur and determine if the business is a fit for the community.”
There is no cost to the town to apply, council heard.