Immigration & Support Services

Rural Entrepreneur Stream

The Government of Alberta has created the Rural Entrepreneur Stream to encourage newcomers to start a business or buy an existing business in rural communities. Find out more about the program here.

Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is a designated community under the Rural Entrepreneur Stream. The Rural Entrepreneur Stream supports the attraction and retention of newcomers to rural Alberta through a community-driven approach that supports local economic development needs and contributes to the growth of the community. The Rural Entrepreneur Stream empowers rural communities to recruit and retain foreign nationals to live, work and settle in their communities.

The program’s goal is to attract and retain newcomers that will build business in the region and become long-term residents of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.

Program Information

Alberta Advantage Immigration Program

The rural immigration streams are part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program, a federal-provincial program which nominates individuals for permanent residence. Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is a designated community under the Rural Entrepreneur Stream.

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Review the Self-Assessment Tool to ensure you meet program eligibility requirements.

For a full list of eligibility criteria, please visit here.


If you are eligible based on the Self-Assessment Tool and would like to begin the process, please follow the steps laid out below.

Step 1: Candidate takes the Self-Assessment Tool

Please take this self-assessment to confirm basic eligibility is met prior to proceeding through the process. Please also review eligibility criteria here.

Step 2: Candidate fills out Request for Exploratory Visit Form and Provides Business Proposal Summary

  • After submitting the form, FMWB will review the Candidate’s request and follow up to request a draft of the candidate's Business Proposal Summary document.
  • Once the Business Proposal Summary is received, FMWB will confirm a virtual meeting time. The virtual meeting is required of all candidates, prior to an official exploratory visit.

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Exploratory Visit Form

If you are an entrepreneur that fits the program eligibility, please fill out the Exploratory Visit Form.

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Step 3: Exploratory Visit is Scheduled and Completed

  • After the virtual meeting, if eligible, an exploratory visit will be scheduled with the Candidate, in person or virtually.
  • Candidates completing an in-person exploratory visit need to meet visa requirements to be able to come to Alberta
  • Please note: AAIP and Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo are prohibited from providing candidates with a letter of support to obtain a visa for the exploratory visit.

Step 4: FMWB Authorizes and sends the Candidate the Community Support Letter

To be sent to the Candidate after the completion of the exploratory visit, dependent on meeting the necessary criteria and determining the economic benefit to the Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo region.

Step 5: Candidate Completes the Information Package for AAIP’s EOI Process:

  1. Community Support Letter – FMWB will provide this if deemed eligible after a successful exploratory visit.
  2. Exploratory Visit Report – The candidate completes this by providing the following information:
    • The name of the professional business service providers or settlement organizations you visited during your trip or spoke to in your video conference, including mailing addresses, telephone numbers and emails.
    • A description of the activity, in-person meeting or video conference and how it relates to your business establishment or settlement.
    • Copies of business cards you collected from relevant contacts and business service providers contacted during your in-person visit (if applicable).
    • Details of visits to existing business locations and meetings with current owners if you are planning to purchase an existing business. You should include the business name, location and the current owners’ names and contact details.
  3. Rural Entrepreneur Stream Business Proposal Summary – candidate completes this based on AAIP’s template here: [\](file:////Users/micahslavens/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_filelist.xml)
  4. Net Worth Worksheet – available here: [\](file:////Users/micahslavens/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_filelist.xml)
  5. Use of Representative Form (if applicable) – available here: [\](file:////Users/micahslavens/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_filelist.xml)
  6. Spouse, Common-Law Partners and Dependant Authorization Form – available here: [\](file:////Users/micahslavens/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_filelist.xml)

Step 6: Request to Submit Business Application is sent by AAIP

  • If successful, Candidate will be invited by AAIP through an email to submit a Business Application
  • Candidate has 90 days from this email to submit the Business Application.

Step 7: Candidate Completes the Business Application and waits for the decision

Step 8: Business Application Assessment

  • Once the Business Application is received, AAIP will assess your Business Application and request any additional information as required.
  • There is no guarantee that all complete Business Applications will be assessed or that all candidates who meet the criteria will be issued a nomination.
  • Your Business Application will be assessed against the eligibility criteria and your EOI Points will be verified.
  • Approved Candidates will be sent a Business Performance Agreement to sign. Once signed, Candidates will receive a 205(a) Letter of Support which allows the Candidate to apply for a two-year work permit to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). A work permit is required to begin to operate a business in Canada.
  • Entrepreneurs who are approved under the established businesses in Alberta criteria are not required to sign a Business Performance Agreement. These entrepreneurs will be issued a nomination certificate to apply for permanent residence to IRCC.

Step 9: Begin business operations

Upon receiving your Business Application Approval Letter and your work permit, you must:

  • reside in a rural Alberta community
  • actively own and operate an eligible business in a rural Alberta community for at least 12 months with at least 51% ownership if establishing a new business or 100% ownership for business succession
  • meet the conditions of the Business Performance Agreement that you signed with the Government of Alberta
  • demonstrate that the business is operating successfully by generating products or services after one year of operation

Candidates must:

  1. Submit an Arrival Report to the AAIP within 30 days of the date that appears as the “date issued” on your work permit issued by the Government of Canada.
  2. Submit a Business Progress Report to the AAIP after the end of each 6-month period from the date that appears as the “date issued” on your work permit issued by the Government of Canada.
  3. Submit a Final Report for Nomination once candidates satisfy all the conditions of the Business Performance Agreement and are ready to apply to be nominated by the AAIP for permanent residency.

Step 10: Apply for Permanent Residency through IRCC

If your Final Report for Nomination is approved, the AAIP will:

  • notify Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) of your nomination
  • send a nomination letter to you explaining how to submit your permanent residency application to the IRCC Centralized Intake Office (CIO). You must apply for permanent residence to IRCC.
  • IRCC will contact you for further clarification or additional documents for your Application for Permanent Residence. If IRCC approves your application, you and your dependents will receive a permanent resident visa from IRCC.


Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT) provides a Community Support Letter to Candidates who meet the Criteria of the Rural Entrepreneur Stream. Once the community support letter is received, this program is applied for and managed through Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). (file:////Users/micahslavens/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/TemporaryItems/msohtmlclip/clip_filelist.xml))


This program was made possible by the following partners:

  • Government of Alberta, Ministry of Labour and Immigration
  • Regional Labour Market Committee
  • RM of Wood Buffalo