Alberta launches Coal Community Transition Fund

coal community
Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous joins Mayor Rod Shaigec in Parkland County to announce the new Coal Community Transition Fund.

First project to receive support is Town of Hanna’s Community Action to Create Diversification project

Alberta has launched the Coal Community Transition Fund, which will be available for projects that focus on regional partnerships and economic diversification, according to a government press release.

The fund, which is also expected to grow with additional support from the federal government, is one step in a series of initiatives to support coal communities and workers as Canada moves towards natural gas and renewable electricity generation and away from coal.

The province commissioned a coal transition report from energy expert Terry Boston, who has worked on complex energy issues for decades on four continents.

Based on his recommendations, the Alberta government reached agreements last fall that ensure power companies:

  • fulfil their existing and future legal obligations to affected employees, including severance and pension obligations
  • keep their head offices in Alberta
  • continue to generate power for Alberta’s electricity market

These steps provide options for transitioning to new electricity generation that would see coal communities continue to power Alberta and create new long-term, local economic opportunities.

“We know the move away from coal has created a lot of uncertainty – that’s why we are working with local leaders and residents to support their plans for resilient, diversified economies in Alberta’s coal communities,” said Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

Alberta’s Climate Leadership Plan phases out coal and transitions to renewable and natural gas-generated electricity by 2030.

“These communities have a proud history of helping power a prosperous and industrious province, and we want them to continue to be places where people can build a good life for themselves and their families. Rural communities have always been important to this province, and when their economies do well, Alberta does well,” said Bilous.

Eligible communities and municipalities can apply together or individually for grant funding based on their specific economic development opportunities.

Applications do not require matching funds from municipalities.

“Residents in our communities have concerns about the transition away from coal. They also have ideas on how we can mitigate the impacts on workers and diversify our economy to create new employment opportunities for affected workers. We are working to address those concerns and support their ideas,” Rod Shaigec, mayor of Parkland County.

The first project to receive support through the fund was the Town of Hanna’s Community Action to Create Diversification project.

Intake for the Coal Community Transition Fund is now open and will run until Nov. 30. Details, including eligibility criteria and how to apply, can be found here.