Alberta Advantage Immigration Program – Addressing Labour Shortages

The County of Grande Prairie, along with the Town of Sexsmith and the Town of Wembley are proud to be Designated Communities under the Rural Renewal Stream of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP).

More about the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program

Under this program, The County of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith and Town of Wembley will support economic development by attracting newcomers that are qualified to fill vacant, full-time, permanent positions in the community and attract entrepreneurs, new investment, and new businesses. The AAIP is an economic immigration program that nominates individuals for permanent residence in Alberta.  Newcomers that participate under this program will receive nomination for permanent residency which will allow them to stay working, living, and contributing to our community.

There are two streams of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program being offered in The County of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith and Town of Wembley:

  1. Rural Renewal Stream – Employers looking to fill vacant workforce positions can work with our economic development team to recruit and retain foreign nationals to live, work and settle in our community.
  2. Rural Entrepreneur Stream – Entrepreneurs looking to start a business or are prepared to invest in an existing business in our community will work with our economic development team on new opportunities.
Rural Renewal Stream
The Rural Renewal Stream offers eligible workers an opportunity to immigrate to our region with the formal support of the County, Sexsmith, and Wembley through a nomination process by the participating municipalities. The program will be used to attract and retain newcomers and support employers to fill vacancies. This will support workforce development by helping employers meet labour demands, expand the skilled workforce, and support community and economic growth.

Employer Eligibility

Employers that wish to fill job vacancies using the Rural Renewal Stream must meet a series of criteria and provide a genuine offer of employment.

Employers must be incorporated, or registered by or under, an act of the legislature of a province, territory, or the Parliament of Canada and operate within the municipal boundaries of the County, Sexsmith, or Wembley

Workplace offers or contracts must be signed by the employee and employer, and must provide:

  • continuous, paid work within the County, Sexsmith, or Wembley
  • full-time work, defined as a minimum of 30 hours per week, employment for 12 months or more, and wages and benefits that meet or exceed the lowest starting wage for your occupation across all industries in Alberta.

Job Opportunities must be available to Canadians first, at the same pay and working conditions. Under the AAIP, there are some ineligible occupations

Employers must meet all eligibility criteria under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program's Rural Renewal Stream prior to issuing an offer of employment. Please review the available information carefully.

A Labour Market Impact Assessment is not required, but demonstrated efforts to recruit locally, provincially, and nationally is required.

Employers are required to demonstrate knowledge of the responsibilities of welcoming newcomers and providing a warm and welcoming environment. A business looking to participate in the program must demonstrate that they have knowledge of the employer's responsibilities with respect to federal and provincial immigration laws and regulations.

The following are resources that prospective employers are encouraged to review prior to recruiting:

A safe welcoming workplace creates an environment where all employees are valued and respected. Employers must provide a safe welcoming workplace. For more information on safe and welcoming workplaces visit alis.ca.

Business owners/managers that meet these criteria and would like to participate in the Rural Renewal Stream should contact Economic Development

All employers will be required to submit a completed Employer Application Form.

Applicant Eligibility

Applicants that wish to participate in the program must meet a series of criteria, receive an authentic job offer from an eligible employer, get endorsed by The County, Sexsmith, or Wembley through the respective municipality and apply using the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program portal.

  • Before applying for an employment opportunity, candidates are encouraged to review, understand, and ensure they meet all eligibility requirements under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program
  • Once a candidate is confident, they meet the eligibility requirements, they may apply for employment with employers located within the County, Sexsmith, or Wembley. Applications must be made directly to the employer.
  • Once you receive a job offer from an employer, your employer will present the job offer to the Economic Development Officer to be reviewed and recommended to receive endorsement.
  • After receiving an Endorsement of Candidate letter the candidate can then submit their application through the AAIP Portal. The candidate will be notified by the Government of Alberta if they are eligible for nomination. At the time the application is submitted and at the time the AAIP assesses your application, you must intend to and be able to work, reside, and settle in the County, Sexsmith, or Wembley.

For more information on job opportunities under the AAIP program contact ecdev@countygp.ab.ca

Rural Entrepreneur Stream
The Rural Entrepreneur Stream is an opportunity for the County of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith, and Town of Wembley to offer permanent residency to entrepreneurs who want to start a new business or invest in an existing business within the County, Sexsmith, and Wembley. The program will provide an opportunity to help expand the local economy and support succession planning for our local business community.

Eligibility:

Entrepreneurs and investors looking to start a business or buy an existing business in the County of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith, and Town of Wembley can submit an Expression of Interest to the Rural Entrepreneur Stream. 

Confirm your eligibility for the Rural Entrepreneur Stream or use the self-assessment tool to find out if you meet the basic requirements. 

Alberta Advantage Immigration Program - Employment Opportunities

Please Note - All candidates must review, understand, and meet all program eligibility criteria before applying for available positions within the community.

If all eligibility requirements are met, candidates may apply for a position being offered in the County of Grande Prairie, Town of Sexsmith, and Town of Wembley. Applications are made directly to the employer outlined in the job postings.

Candidates are encouraged to review the job postings carefully and only submit an application for a position that meets your skills, education, and experience. It is important that applicants clearly demonstrate in the application how they will meet all the mandatory requirements of the position. 

 Current Job listings

County of Grande Prairie Job Listings

 

Other municipalities 

Town of Sexsmith Job Listings 

 

Town of Wembley Job Listings

 

Business Assistance Program

The Business Assistance Program enables small to medium-sized businesses in the County of Grande Prairie to work with certified human resources professionals to fulfill current employment needs. Businesses can only apply for one of the grant funding streams..

 Maximum Grant $1,000

  • Employee Attraction Strategy: to fill an existing position within the company
  • Employee Retention Strategy: to retain talent and create a positive workplace culture

Maximum Grant $500

  • Work from Home Policy Development: to assist in creating the flexibility for productive remote work situations

Apply

View the Business Assistance Program Policy and Guidelines.

 Eligibility Requirements 
To be eligible for a grant businesses must:
  • have less than 100 employees.
  • be located within the County and pay County commercial or industrial taxes.
  • have been in operation for a minimum of three (3) years prior to the annual grant parameters.
  • provide proof of the previous year’s, year-end statements from the Canada Revenue Agency showing that all Canada Revenue Agency accounts are current and paid. (Businesses with outstanding Canada Revenue Agency debt, subject to insolvency and/or bankruptcy will not be eligible).
  • have a gross annual revenue of less than $3 million.
  • considered viable based on their financial statements. 
 Application Process
  1. Business Submit application to County of Grande Prairie Economic Development Officer
  2. Economic Development Officer reviews application to ensure it is complete and assists business if additional information is required
  3. Applications are submitted to Council for review. Depending on Council meeting schedules, notification of an application's status could take up to two months following the submission of a completed application.
  4. Council determines if business meets eligibility criteria and allocates grant funding. Grants are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis
  5. Business is notified within one week following Council review.
  6. Business hires the certified Human Resources Professional. Once the project is complete, the business submits the invoices/receipts and is reimbursed at that time.
 Certified Human Resources Contacts 

The County of Grande Prairie has sourced three Certified Human Resources Professionals that businesses can use. Businesses also have the option to select another Human Resources Professional. If a professional is selected that is not on this list, the business is responsible for ensuring that all certifications are valid and current.

 

Balanced Perspectives
Jennifer Ireson, President and Principal Consultant
587-343-2338
jennifer@balanced-perspectives.ca
balance-perspectives.ca

 

Talented Solutions
Dagny Guy, CEO/Recruiter
dagny.guy@hotmail.com

 

Stacey Messner
780-332-1180
stacey@staceymessner.com
staceymessner.com

Minimum Criteria required for each Grant 

To be eligible to receive the grant, the Human Resources Professional is required to provide a minimum level of services to the business for each stream.

 Employee Attraction
The business can determine whether to use a Human Resources professional for partial or full support in the hiring process. Partial support includes:  
  • Develop the job description
  • Create the ad for the job posting and post it on free job-posting sites (paid sites can be added for a fee)
  • Format the questions for telephone screening and references
  • Review applications daily
  • Screen and rank resumes based on client criteria and provide a rational for the ranking
  • Conduct initial phone interviews with top candidates (up to 10); providing notes and a summary of each interview
  • Short-list candidates and recommend up to four candidates for in-person or virtual interviews.
  • Develop and score questions for in-depth interviews 

Full-support includes all the above services as well as conducting the final interviews and presenting hiring options. 

Employee Retention Assistance
The Human Resources Professional must provide the following services to support the business in employee retention:
  • Meet with business owner to discuss challenges, and identify needs
  • Survey staff to identify strengths, weaknesses, issues, and opportunities
  • Develop a retention program that identifies the top five strategies for retaining employees, and provide options that require no funding and those that have a cost. Provide estimates and budgets for any paid options. 
 Work-from-home Policy

The Human Resources Professional must provide the following services to create a work-from-home policy:

  • Interview the business owner to clarify goals, objectives and requirements
  • Create a policy that provides flexibility and employee engagement, ensures productivity is maintained, promotes a team environment, and provides guidelines for remote supervision, employees’ responsibilities, and performance reviews

Reporting Requirements 

Grant recipients must fulfill the following requirements to receive the funding:

A duly authorized officer of the Business must sign an Acknowledgement of Compliance form indicating that the business meets the conditions required to receive the grant.

The business must submit a copy of the paid invoice and applicable reimbursement request within three months after the human resources professional's invoice has been paid.

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network contributes to the long-term sustainability of the County and surrounding municipalities. This forum is a place to share ideas, exchange information about current labour market trends, and to identify and address workforce issues.

Learn more about the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network

What is the Business Support Network?

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network (CGPBSN) was created to build strong partnerships within our business community that will address common, current, local and regional workplace challenges.

Members of the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network work together to: 

  • Identify common workforce challenges and current labour market trends.
  • Address and find solutions to identified trends and challenges by exchanging ideas as an open, respectful and positive business network.
  • Create a safe environment for partnership building and for collaboration on ways to address common workplace challenges. 

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network Partners include: The County of Grande Prairie, Community Futures of Grande Prairie & Region, Grande Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce, Peace Wapiti School Division, Northwestern Polytechnic, Alberta Government - Labour & Immigration, Western Cree Tribal Council, Grande Prairie Regional Tourism, International Paper and the Grande Prairie Airport.

Why was the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network created?

The County of Grande Prairie is always working to identify current and future opportunities that will support our diverse economy.  This includes creating the Growth and Economic Development Strategy (GEDS), which established a 50-year vision to lead us as we accommodate future growth and strengthen economic development in a sustainable, responsible way.    

One of the desired outcomes of the GEDS is to increase collaboration by partnering for growth. Accordingly, the new Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Program was implemented to strengthen the connection between businesses and our communities, while encouraging growth opportunities. BRE functions have included administering business surveys and launching the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network.

County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network events are an open and positive venue for business groups and individuals to collaborate and exchange ideas and information on current labour market trends, and to address workforce development, attraction, and retention challenges.

Upcoming Events

Join the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network for numerous roundtables and sessions through out the year.

Roundtables are a forum setting to share best practices, issues or solutions with trends, set the stage for future County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network sessions, workshops or discussions

Sessions are an informative way to learn from professionals in various workplace issues and trends.

Make sure to check our Eventbrite page to follow us and for the most up to date list of roundtables and sessions and to register. 

The Grande Prairie Business Support Network is committed to ensuring that you have the information relevant to your business. To make these sessions and roundtables effective and appropriate please feel free to share your thoughts and suggestions for future sessions.

To find out more information, suggest or present a topic, or to be added to the distribution list, please e-mail or call us 780-831-8864.

Customer Service Training

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network has partnered with Northwestern Polytechnic to host the Service Excellence Blue Pin Certificate, with support from Alberta Labour and Immigration and the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Destination Marketing Fund! 

Service Excellence - Blue Pin Certificate Program

The County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network has partnered with Northwestern Polytechnic to host the Service Excellence Blue Pin Certificate, with support from Alberta Labour and Immigration and the Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Destination Marketing Fund! This program is a customer and employee retention program that focuses on training and customer service skills to frontline professionals, supervisors, and managers. 

 

Costs 

Costs range from $145 to $325 per course, for a total certificate cost of $950 for a frontline staff certificate and $1,600 for a managers/supervisor’s certificate. Individuals can register for the certificate independently or pursue funding options to cover program costs.  

 

Funding is Available! 

Funding is available through the Alberta Labour and Immigration and Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Destination Marketing Fund for employers looking to certify their frontline staff. This program is also a regular offering for anyone who is interested in enhancing their customer service skills by completing the Customer Service Excellence Blue Pin Certificate. 

Funding details: 

  • This funding is currently available for frontline staff certificates only. 

  • Funding is limited and only available to those pursuing the entire certificate, not for single courses.  

  • To support businesses of all sizes, larger organizations may be limited in the number of employees eligible for funding.  

  • All applications will be considered for review by the County of Grande Prairie Business Support Network. 

All courses within the program are being offered in person and administered by Northwestern Polytechnic

Each course varies in length and is broken down into manageable pieces to allow the certificate to be completed on your own time. Courses are also scheduled at different times in each cycle to accommodate individual calendars. 

Apply 

For additional information regarding scheduling and course enrolment or to apply for funding, please visit Northwestern Polytech's website: Service Excellence Blue Pin Certificate.

Questions, comments or suggestions can be directed to Hetti Huls, Economic Development Officer. 

Resources for Businesses

The County of Grande Prairie also maintains a listing of local resources that can support businesses in our community

 Resources for Businesses

  1. Local and Regional Supports
  2. Provincial Supports
  3. Federal Supports
  4.   Grant and Funding Opportunities