+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 17-22F

Government Funding For Nurse Practitioners

November 9, 2022
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2025
Active Status:
Beaver County
5 - Edmonton East
Vote Results:

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta is responsible for the delivery of medical services to Albertans; and

WHEREAS there is a shortage of physicians in the province, particularly in rural Alberta; and

WHEREAS the Government of Alberta established the Rural Physician Action Plan in 1991 to support practicing rural physicians; and

WHEREAS the Rural Physician Action Plan met with limited success, and rural Alberta municipalities continue to struggle with the attraction and retention of physicians; and

WHEREAS Alberta has more than 800 licensed nurse practitioners, with 30to 100 new graduates annually; and

WHEREAS nurse practitioners are health care professionals with training to provide essential health care services; and

WHEREAS nurse practitioners are completely independent health care professionals who could work in urgent care facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community clinics, primary care offices, and hospitals; and

WHEREAS most of Alberta’s nurse practitioners work in hospitals due to lack of a salary-based funding model which would compensate them fairly and equitably, and enable the establishment of independent practices throughout Alberta; and

WHEREAS adequate Government of Alberta funding for nurse practitioners will alleviate the shortage of physicians and expand the reach of health care to rural Albertans of all ages;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta request the Government of Alberta to establish a salary-based funding model that will fairly and equitably compensate nurse practitioners for work in rural local care facilities and rural independent clinics.

Member Background:

Rural Albertans continue to experience significant challenges to health care accessibility. The number of family physicians has dropped 0.9% between April 2019/March 2020 and April 2020/March 2021 despite an increase in Alberta’s population.  A 2022 survey conducted by the Alberta Medical Association indicates that 34% of Albertans do not currently have a family physician.

One solution to this issue is care provided by nurse practitioners.

Nurse practitioners are health care professionals educated at the Master’s or PhD level. They are qualified to provide essential health care services such as primary care, outpatient clinic-based care, or hospital care, very similar to the care that a family doctor provides.

Nurse practitioners offer a wide range of services which include ordering and reading x-rays, tests, and laboratory results, performing exams and diagnosing problems, providing or ordering treatments, prescribing medications, providing follow-up care and education, and referring to specialists. They are independent and require no outside supervision of their practice.

Across Canada, nurse practitioners work in hospitals (35%), community health facilities (36%), and nursing homes (4%). The other 24% are educators, researchers, have returned to registered nursing roles, or are employed in private practices. Three million Canadians receive primary care from nurse practitioners and based on a study conducted by the Canadian Nurses Association in 2012, nurse practitioners have contributed to a 20% reduction in emergency department admissions from long-term care, and a 55% reduction in the use of multiple medications.

In Alberta, provincial funding to nurse practitioners working outside the hospital system flows through primary care networks (PCNs). PCN positions are historically underpaid and have limits placed on the number of patients who can been seen. The Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta submitted a proposal to the Government of Alberta in 2021, suggesting a salary-based model in which nurse practitioners are paid directly by the Government of Alberta.  Compared to a per-patient funding model, a salary-based model would enable nurse practitioners to provide a thorough, holistic approach to a patient’s health-care needs.

Due to the frequent leadership changes in government, the proposal has not moved forward.

Supporting Documentation:

Alberta Medical Association PatientsFirst Survey Findings

Alberta Government Website Reference

Canadian Nurses Association Survey

Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta website

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Alberta Health

This resolution urges the Government of Alberta to establish a salary-based funding model to fairly and equitably compensate nurse practitioners (NPs) for work in rural local care facilities and rural independent clinics.

Alberta’s government recognizes the importance of NPs in the health system and is committed to providing Albertans with greater choice in their health care providers by increasing the number of NPs in Alberta. Currently, the province funds/employs NPs to deliver services through AHS and the Primary Care Networks (the PCN NP Support Program).

The PCN NP Support Program was initiated in 2019 to increase the number of NPs working in primary care through targeted funding. The goal of the support programs is to:

  •  increase access to primary health care (e.g. after hours, weekends, rural/remote areas);
  • meet unmet demand for primary health care services;
  •  provide care to underserved populations; and
  • support chronic disease management.

As of November 2022 there are a total of 55.29 full-time equivalent NPs registered with the PCNs. Some of these NPs are working in rural Alberta, but we also recognize that more can be done.

Moving forward, we are continuing the work of the Modernizing Alberta’s Primary Care System initiative and assessing alternative compensation models for family physicians and NPs. I am pleased to let you know that the work on a NP funding model is underway.


The Government of Alberta has committed to a new salary-based pay system for Nurse Practitioners (NPs), to be launched in early 2024. The model is expected to include payment for a specified number of clinical hours and other commitments, such as caring for a certain number of patients.

NPs who opt into the compensation model will also qualify for caseload support once their patient caseloads are established, as announced in October 2023. The three-year, $57 million support program will help primary health care providers manage an increasing number of patients. Each provider has the potential to receive up to $10,000 annually to help support the added administrative work associated with implementing the new model.

RMA staff have collaborated and discussed this issue with the Nurse Practitioner Association of Alberta (NPAA) and are pleased with the new funding model for NPs in Alberta.

Due to the continued commitment from the GOA to move towards a salary-based funding model for NPs in Alberta, RMA has assigned this resolution a status of Accepted In Principle.

Provincial Ministries:
Back to Resolutions Database