In 1985, Community Futures was launched as part of the Canada Jobs Strategy. Community Futures remains a national program with overall program aim to:
- Support to local rural communities and small and medium-sized enterprises in meeting their economic needs
- Help to rural communities to develop and implement long-term community strategic plans leading to the sustainable development of their local economies
- Provide support for the building of community capacity as a means of helping rural adapt to and manage change
The aim of the Community Futures program in Western Canada is to:
- Support Community Economic Development (CED)
- Diversify the economy
- Support the creation and expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises
- Maintain and create new employment
- Maintain Canada’s capacity to deliver business services to rural communities in Western Canada.
In 1995, the responsibility for Community Futures was transferred to Western Economic Diversification Canada(WD). With core funding assistance provided by WD, the Community Futures program is delivered through a network of 90 non-profit Community Futures organizations:
- 34 in B.C.
- 27 in Alberta
- 13 in Saskatchewan
- 16 in Manitoba
These are supported by four provincial associations, including the Community Futures Network of Alberta (CFNA). These associations, and the 90 Community Futures offices they represent, work in partnership through the Community Futures Pan West organization.
The history of the CFNA stretches back to 1994, when the province’s Community Futures organization decided to form a provincial association that would speak with a single voice and create opportunities through a common network. Since then CFNA has evolved into an incorporated not-for-profit that advocates on behalf of its membership and provides a wide range of member programs and services.