Alberta is a dynamic province and for many years, growth in Alberta’s urban areas has been among the highest in Canada. Rural Alberta, however, has also seen demographic and economic growth, much of which is tied to natural resource sectors. These trends provide numerous opportunities but also create challenges, specifically in relation to the provision of critical infrastructure and services.
Why is this important to Albertans?
Rural Alberta’s economic role moves far beyond simply hosting natural resources for industries such as oil, gas, forestry, and agriculture. Rural Alberta is the province’s economic engine, contributing to the province’s GDP at a rate that far exceeds its population.
According to a 2018 RMA report, rural Alberta is home to 41% of the public and private investment in the province, and 26% of the overall provincial GDP. This is significant considering rural Alberta is home to 18% of Albertans. Supporting the important industries and development in rural Alberta requires effective governance, planning, and service delivery. Alberta’s rural municipalities fulfill this role and are responsible for providing municipal governance and services to approximately 85% of Alberta’s land mass, and by managing approximately 75% of Alberta’s roads, 60% of Alberta’s bridges.
This means that the economic prosperity and well-being of all Albertans is intrinsically tied to rural Alberta, and it is important that provincial policy and programming adequately supports the needs of Alberta’s rural communities so that they can continue to support key industries throughout the province.
What can the Alberta government do to support rural Alberta on this issue?
By considering how key policy decisions will impact rural Alberta and adopting a “rural lens”, the Government of Alberta can understand the important nuances of rural communities that keep our communities strong, vibrant, and sustainable.
We invite the Government of Alberta work with the RMA to understand the needs of our members, and the unique approaches they take to providing service and infrastructure in rural areas of the province.