RCIF Relocation Incentive aims to recruit nurses to rural and regional centre workplaces

Alberta nurses are now eligible for significant worksite relocation incentives as well as moving expenses as part of the joint United Nurses of Alberta-Employer Rural Investment Capacity Fund (RCIF) negotiated in the Provincial Collective Agreement ratified in 2022.

The relocation incentive payments from the RCIF apply to nurses willing to relocate to workplaces in rural and remote communities as well as to urban worksites in Alberta Health Services’ North, Central or South Zones, UNA President Heather Smith explained.

Separate Rural Relocation Expense Reimbursement payments are also available for nurses who agree to work in rural and remote locations, she said.

“We have a serious staffing shortage, and these relocation incentives aim to provide stability, particularly in rural and remote communities,” Smith said in a statement on March 14. “Fixing the staffing crisis will require many more additional resources, but this is a step forward and not back.”

The Provincial General Agreement applies to UNA members employed by Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Lamont Health Care Centre, and The Bethany Group (Camrose).


Eligible candidates for RCIF Relocation Incentive payments include nurses now working in Alberta and those who expect to have full credentials soon, Smith said.

The Relocation Incentives initiative provides $10,000 to nurses who relocate employment to an urban worksite in the AHS North, Central and South Zones. The eligible urban worksites are located in Fort McMurray, Grande Prairie, Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, and Red Deer.

In addition, Smith said, $15,000 payments are available to nurses who relocate to worksites in a rural or remote community in each of the three zones.

To qualify, applicants must relocate to a worksite that is at least 100 kilometres from where their current Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, Lamont Health Care Centre or Bethany Group (Camrose) worksite is located.

The Rural Relocation Incentive is available to all full-time, part-time, and benefit-eligible casual employees (BECEs) within the UNA bargaining unit. Applications can be retroactive to April 1, 2022. Funding is on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the deadline to apply is March 1, 2024.

Successful applicants must sign a 12-month Return for Services (RFS) agreement that takes effect upon signing.


The separate Rural Relocation Expense Reimbursement provides $10,000 for moving costs for nurses who decide to move to work in rural and remote communities.

If applicants receive both the relocation incentive and relocation expense reimbursement, the RFSs for both will run consecutively.

Managers are required to complete the reimbursement application on behalf of the employee.


A majority of the $5 million remaining in RCIF for the 2022/2023 fiscal year will be allocated as a retention payment to all employees covered by the Provincial Collective Agreement who worked in the North, Central and South Zones between April 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022.

Eligible employees must have been employed as of February 17, 2023, to receive the retention payment. The bonus will be distributed in spring 2023.

This payment is being allocated by the RCIF joint committee as a way to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of nurses within these three zones.

UPDATE: Information about the 2022 Retention Payment is now available.