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2.  Section II – Reporting on Results

2.1  Strategic Outcome #1 – Enterprise Development

Improved growth and competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs), leading to increased productivity, earned incomes and job creation.


Expected Results:  Increased earned income and employment opportunities in Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Annual Target: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Employment growth ratio of ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1 to 2
  • On track (ratio of 1.5)

Five‑year Targets:
(2003-2004 to 2007-2008)

  • Increase in GDP
  • Around $1 billion more annually than without ACOA support to business
  • Analysis over a five‑year period ends in 2007‑2008
  • Increase in GDP per $1 of ACOA expenditure
  • $4 to $5 in GDP gains for every $1 of ACOA expenditure
  • Analysis over a five‑year period ends in 2007‑2008

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Measuring the impact on income and employment in Atlantic Canada is a long‑term, multi-dimensional undertaking. Thus, the Agency will report results every five years, based on analysis of data from Statistics Canada and internal systems, using econometric modelling.


ACOA’s legislation mandates the Agency to give particular emphasis to the development of small and medium‑sized enterprises (SMEs). Small entrepreneurial firms have taken their place as vital contributors to economic health. Their strengths are their flexibility, their resourcefulness, their efficient use of limited resources, and their sensitivity to the market.

The Agency seeks to ensure that the relevant business development tools and resources are available to serve the needs of the region’s existing and emerging entrepreneurs. ACOA approaches this work in a strategic manner, providing Canadians with the tools to improve growth and competitiveness of SMEs, ultimately leading to increased productivity, earned incomes and employment opportunities.

Graph: Manufacturing Employment Growth The Agency is attaining its objectives, as employment for ACOA‑assisted firms has grown steadily during the last decade. Atlantic Canada’s economy performed well from 1994 to 2004, as real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by an average of 3%6 per year. The Agency has played a key role in enterprise development, as ACOA‑assisted firms have created more jobs than unassisted businesses. In fact, total employment (excluding the public administration sector) for ACOA‑assisted firms grew by 32% from 1994 to 2004, exceeding the rate of 21% registered by unassisted firms,7 meeting the Agency’s target in terms of job creation in ACOA‑assisted firms.

The results are even more significant when comparing the manufacturing sector, one of the key economic drivers. The percentage change in employment for ACOA-assisted manufacturing firms is more than two times that of unassisted firms. Specifically, manufacturing employment for ACOA‑assisted firms expanded by over 40% over the 1994 to 2004 period, compared to only 17% for unassisted firms.8 Moreover, the gap between ACOA-assisted and non-assisted firms is even greater when excluding large firms (more than 100 workers), reflecting the Agency’s focus on SMEs.

Text Box: Enterprise Development program activities: • Fostering SME development and regional economic capacity building • Access to business information Another measure of the impact of ACOA’s expenditures in direct support of businesses in Atlantic Canada is the increase in the GDP resulting from these investments. In its last five‑year report to Parliament (1998-2003), ACOA reported that GDP in Atlantic Canada was almost $1 billion higher in constant 1997 dollars over a five‑year span than it would have been without its support. In fact, every dollar of ACOA expenditure resulted in an increase of more than $5 in GDP over the five‑year period.

The Agency offers a wide variety of programs and services to improve the environment for business development, as well as to help firms start up, expand and modernize. This is done by focusing on two activities: fostering the growth and competitiveness of SMEs, and providing access to business information.

2.1.1  Program Activity:  Fostering SME Development and Regional Economic Capacity Building

Improve the region’s capacity for economic growth through a variety of mechanisms including: providing assistance to small and medium‑sized enterprises to help them start, expand or modernize their businesses; partnering with universities and other institutions to increase the region’s research and development capacity, commercialization and productivity; and promoting and participating in the region’s transition to the knowledge economy.


Expected Results:  Improved growth and competitiveness of Atlantic SMEs

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Survival rate ratio of ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1 to 2
  • 1.3
  • Payroll growth ratio of ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1.5 to 2
  • 1.2
  • Productivity growth rate ratio for ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1.5 to 2
  • 1.5

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of Statistics Canada data and internal systems data



Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

279.6

240.3

223.69

 

440

369

71


Text Box: Fostering SME development and regional economic capacity building: Innovation Entrepreneurship and business skills development Trade Investment Tourism Other support to SMEs The Agency provides assistance to small and medium‑sized enterprises in Atlantic Canada with the objective to improve their growth and competitiveness in the marketplace, whether it be for a new business or the expansion and modernization of an existing one. This enables firms to increase their productivity and remain competitive in today’s marketplace. Stronger businesses will result in new investments in the region, and contribute to employment creation and increased earned income.

Business survivalrates for ACOA‑assisted firms, along with payroll growth and productivity growth, are used to measure the Agency’s performance. Data obtained from Statistics Canada10 is used to calculate business survival rates for ACOA‑assisted firms and unassisted firms.

Graph: Business Survival RateThe Agency’s target is that business survival rates for ACOA‑assisted firms are higher than those of unassisted firms. The chart below illustrates the business survival rate for the first five years of operation for ACOA‑assisted firms, which is higher than that of unassisted firms, meeting the Agency’s target (41%, compared with 32% for unassisted firms).

ACOA’s impact in Atlantic Canada is also evident in the increase in company payrolls, which usually translates into growth in earned incomes. Payroll for ACOA-assisted firms grew by 54% over the period from 1994 to 2004, compared with 46% for unassisted firms. While the Agency’s ambitious target was not met, payroll growth for ACOA-assisted firms still outpaced that of unassisted firms over this time period.

The Agency’s focus is on small and medium‑sized enterprises, with over 70% of ACOA‑assisted firms categorized as small (fewer than 20 workers). For these small companies, productivity (which is estimated by the ratio of sales to total jobs) experienced stalwart growth from 1999 to 2004. In fact, productivity increased by 27% for ACOA‑assisted firms compared with 18% for unassisted firms, achieving the Agency’s target in terms of productivity growth.

2.1.1.1  Program Sub-activity:  Innovation

Increase activity in and build capacity for innovation, research and development (R&D) of technologies, products, processes or services, technology adoption/adaptation, and commercialization of R&D outputs that contribute to economic growth in Atlantic Canada.


Expected Results:  Strengthen Atlantic Canada’s innovation and commercialization capacity

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Percentage of leveraging of funds toward innovation projects
  • 50%
  • 65% ($175 million
     toward $270 million in project costs)11
  • Number of meaningful partnerships12 and collaborations for technology development and commercialization
  • 40
  • 90 (88 Atlantic Innovation Fund, 2 Business Development Program)

 

Five-year Target:
(March 31, 2004 to March 31,2009)

 

  • Number of commercialized technologies, products, processes and services as a result of an innovation project
  • 35 to 50
  • On track

Performance Measurement Strategy: Analysis of data from internal systems, survey, monitoring


Text Box: The five key areas of ACOA’s innovation strategy: • Strengthen innovation systems • Support strategic sectors • Build innovation capacity • Address skills gaps • Policy development and co ordination Raising the levels of R&D and innovation is fundamental to increasing Atlantic Canada’s competitiveness and closing the productivity gap with the rest of the country. Historically, labour productivity in Atlantic Canada is below the national level, largely due to lower levels of R&D spending, technology adoption, exporting, educational attainment and worker training. Consequently, ACOA continues to work in five key innovation areas in order to strengthen the capacity and productivity of the Atlantic Canadian economy (as listed in the box at right).

ACOA advances its innovation strategy through two programming tools: the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP). The AIF and BDP assist in advancing the first three key areas of ACOA’s innovation strategy. The fourth, addressing skills gaps, is addressed directly by the BDP through the Productivity and Business Skills Initiative (PBSI) and indirectly by AIF. Together, these programs support ACOA’s objective of increasing innovation capacity, ultimately leading to productivity improvement. They contribute to leveraging funds toward innovation projects, encourage the development of partnerships for technology development and commercialization, and increase the number of commercialized technologies, products, processes and services.

Strengthening Innovation Systems and Strategic Sector Support

The Atlantic Innovation Fund focuses on accelerating the development of the knowledge‑based industry and facilitating transition within traditional industries by increasing the region’s capacity to carry out leading-edge research and development, contributing to the development of new technology-based economic activity in Atlantic Canada. Clients of the AIF include businesses and institutions such as universities and research institutes. One of the key accomplishments for 2006-2007 was the successful approval of 30 R&D projects for over $77 million in ACOA assistance (29 projects under AIF Round IV and one project under the AIF’s Strategic Initiative process). As a result of these projects, the Agency was able to leverage an additional $138 million from other sources, such as universities and other research institutions, provincial governments, the private sector, and national programs.

The AIF facilitates the development of strategic sectors characterized by regional clusters of firms. Under Round IV of the AIF, 20 of the 29 approved projects, accounting for almost $48 million in AIF funding, will augment development of the IT, life sciences/biotech, and oil and gas/oceans technology clusters, and will complement the National Research Council’s Atlantic Cluster Initiative.13

ACOA encourages AIF project proponents to seek opportunities for collaboration in such areas as research and development, project management, marketing or commercialization expertise, in order to help maximize the economic benefits and enhance the likelihood of commercialization success. In 2006-2007, AIF-funded projects accounted for over 85 meaningful partnerships.14

Given that the level of privately funded R&D in Atlantic Canada is well below the national average, the AIF is focused on increasing the level of participation by commercial entities in innovation activity. In 2006-2007, the percentage of approved projects from commercial proponents increased to 70% of the total, up from 52% in 2005-2006.15 In addition, the percentage of private sector companies acting as project partners remained high at 55%. (It was 58% in 2005-2006.)16

Via its innovation element, ACOA’s BDP supports innovation investments in the region by providing funding for R&D projects and for the adoption/adaptation of leading‑edge technologies. In 2006-2007, the BDP funded 39 R&D projects for close to $7 million in assistance, and 28 technology adoption/adaptation projects for over $5 million in assistance.17 ACOA also leveraged an additional $36 million from clients and other sources, and encouraged two meaningful partnerships under BDP innovation projects in 2006-2007.18

Addressing skills gaps

Another element of the BDP, the Productivity and Business Skills Initiative (PBSI), was launched in 2006-2007 to improve businesses’ competitiveness through a number of activities such as training, hiring skilled personnel, and improving productivity and/or quality. In 2006-2007, ACOA funded over 165 PBSI projects, for more than $6 million in assistance.19

Building Capacity, Policy Development and Co-ordination

To complement its direct assistance programs, ACOA continued its efforts to increase awareness of the benefits of undertaking innovation activities. Agency-wide in 2006‑2007, ACOA delivered over 35 innovation awareness sessions reaching over 800 participants.20 These included technical outreach sessions with both private sector and university stakeholders to discuss AIF Rounds IV and V, as well as commercialization sessions targeting specific sectors.

The Agency also strengthens the region’s innovation system by ensuring that key components are better linked to promote improved interaction among the innovation players. To further this objective, ACOA continues to support the Association of Atlantic Universities’ Springboard Atlantic initiative. The purpose of Springboard Atlantic is to encourage the effective and efficient transfer of technology by Atlantic universities, and to build the critical mass necessary to advance the commercialization of research from within the universities to the region's private sector. A review of the Springboard commercialization network, conducted in spring 2007, concluded that, “Springboard is adding value to the Atlantic and national innovation systems” and that “the network is critical to the continued organizational changes with respect to technology transfer and commercialization and thus to the continued growth of the Atlantic innovation system”.21

The Agency has continued to support innovation research and advocacy activities in 2006-2007. Activities have focused on facilitating networking opportunities and co‑ordinating innovation development among Atlantic Canada’s and Canada’s innovation stakeholders and policymakers. For instance, the Agency has made key contributions to national networks by participating in the Federal Partnership for Technology Transfer processes to advance innovation in the economy. In addition, the Agency proactively engaged other science-based federal departments to access their specialized expertise in reviewing AIF proposals and advising on science-related issues.

2.1.1.2  Program Sub-activity:  Entrepreneurship and Business Skills Development

Facilitates projects supporting entrepreneurship awareness and the promotion of business skills development, which increase opportunities for Atlantic Canadians to develop the motivation and business skills required to start, sustain or grow their businesses.


Expected Results:  More Atlantic Canadians with the motivation and skills required to successfully start, sustain or grow a business

Indicators:

Three-Year Targets:
(2005-2006 to 2007-2008)

Results:

  • Percentage of participants in entrepreneurship awareness and promotion activities indicating the activity increased their intent to start a business.
  • 60% to 75%*
  • 63.8% (on track)
  • Percentage of participants in business skills development activities indicating the skills acquired were relevant to enhancing business start‑up, survival and/or growth.
  • 60% to 75%
  • 85.7% (on track)

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from Agency’s internal database system, as well as activity reports submitted by funding recipients. Since 2005, many of ACOA’s entrepreneurship and business skills development funding recipients requested project participants to complete exit surveys when participating at events/activities. The results of these surveys would have been reflected in the activity reports.


* This indicator was implemented in 2005-2006. Although the indicator has been in use for only a short time, a preliminary target was set. Additional data will continue to be gathered throughout 2007-2008, which will provide for the establishment of an appropriate baseline.

Text Box: ACOA’s EBSD strategy is implemented through the: • Business Development Program (BDP) • Women in Business Initiative (WBI) • Young Entrepreneur Development Initiative (YEDI) To help foster economic opportunities and business growth within Atlantic Canada, ACOA continues to invest in activities and programming that contribute to creating an entrepreneurial climate where self-employment is considered a viable career option and business skills development is part of the business culture. This strategy helps ensure that there are more entrepreneurs and, more importantly, that owners of SMEs are better positioned to have their businesses survive, grow, and increase competitiveness and productivity.

The following describes various business skills development initiatives and entrepreneurship awareness and promotion activities funded by ACOA in 2006-2007.

  • Throughout Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador, the Entrepreneurs’ Forum (EF) helped innovative companies and businesses in the knowledge-based economy access strategic business advice from a large network of volunteer business people and professionals. In 2006-2007, this funding enabled EF to hold 130 client consultations and 49 advisory sessions.22
  • In New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island, ProfitLearn offered small businesses training sessions designed to address various business management skills needs. Collectively, 210 workshops were offered with some 2,400 participants in attendance.23

The Agency continued to invest in various activities and initiatives targeting the development of aspiring and existing young entrepreneurs and, in particular, their business skills. Following are examples of successful activities undertaken in 2006-2007.

  • The Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporation’s Youth Ventures Program helped young people start 271 summer businesses.24
  • In New Brunswick, 13 co-ordinators engaged by various business support organizations promoted business skills development among youth as well as entrepreneurship as a viable career option. Their activities included interactive presentations and activities to high school entrepreneurship classes; fostering network and mentoring opportunities; and promoting business development resources and tools. Collectively, their entrepreneurship promotion efforts reached some 22,324 individuals and their business skills development activities drew more than 7,952 participants.25

With ACOA’s support, various universities continued to foster business development among aspiring and existing entrepreneurs. Some 482 individuals accessed youth entrepreneurship development activities from Cape Breton University’s Student Employment and Entrepreneurial Centre. Such activities focused on increasing young people’s awareness of entrepreneurship as a career option, and provided support in the start‑up and development of young entrepreneurs. Of those individuals participating in the activities, 79 completed surveys, with 90% indicating that the activity in which they participated increased their intent to start a business.26

The business development program activities at the Acadia Centre for Social and Business Entrepreneurship’s business development programming reached some 1,245 participants. One hundred percent of survey respondents indicated that these activities were helpful in starting or growing their business.27

Ongoing funding to various business support organizations was provided to enhance opportunities for women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. In 2006-2007:

  • Five business support organizations throughout Atlantic Canada provided women entrepreneurs with business planning, counselling and mentoring support. During this period, these organizations conducted approximately 4,200 business counselling sessions with more than 1,800 women.28
  • ACOA helped make possible various business skills development activities targeting women entrepreneurs, such as workshops, conferences and networking events. Collectively, these events’ participation levels exceeded 3,700.29

As a result of its ongoing investment in entrepreneurship and business skills development, ACOA remains on track to meeting its three-year targets. Performance measurement activity shows that, since 2005-2006, 63.8% of participants in entrepreneurship awareness and promotion activities demonstrated an increased intent to start a business, and 85.7% of participants in business skills development activities indicated the skills acquired were relevant to enhancing their business start-up, survival, or growth.

2.1.1.3  Program Sub-activity:  Trade

Projects that strengthen the international marketing capabilities of SMEs, assist business to enter international markets (new exporters), and facilitate improved international business performance (increased sales to existing international markets) of SMEs.


Expected Results:  Increased export capacity and sales for SMEs in Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:30

  • Number of SMEs that have increased export‑readiness31
  • 500
  • Number of new exporters
  • 40
  • 78
  • Number of exporters developing new markets
  • 60
  • 212

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from Statistics Canada, surveys and internal reports


Text Box: ACOA’s four elements of trade: • Awareness • Skills development • Capacity building • Policy, advocacy and co ordination Exporting continues to be one of the nation’s leading engines of economic growth. It builds revenues, fuels business opportunities and generates jobs. To pursue these opportunities, ACOA plays a leading role with other federal departments and four provincial departments to deliver a cohesive and seamless approach to trade development. The Agency also contributes to the Atlantic region’s export performance by strengthening the export capabilities of SMEs – helping them enter international markets and facilitating their international business performance.

With close proximity to the rich markets of the United States and Europe, as well as increased levels of exportable, value-added and knowledge-based goods and services, Atlantic Canada is particularly well suited as a base for exporting.

ACOA has focused on proactive measures aimed at building the export capacity within Atlantic Canada. ACOA works to strengthen the export performance of the Atlantic region, enhancing the capabilities of small and medium-sized businesses to establish and expand business activities. Key initiatives are the development of new markets and new exports, and include the continued promotion of aftercare and market follow-up for existing SMEs.

During 2006-2007, the Agency funded over 144 partnered export projects, such as the Export Partnership Program in New Brunswick. This partnership approach resulted in ACOA-led export-readiness training for over 1,000 SMEs during 2006-2007. Agency projects have also contributed to the creation of 78 new exporters in Atlantic Canada30.

The Agency has been instrumental in organizing and co-ordinating pan-Atlantic and regional trade missions for SMEs based on priority sectors such as aerospace and defence, life sciences, aquaculture and energy. Mission successes included assisting 212 Atlantic Canadian SMEs develop new markets in 2006-2007, in such markets as the United Kingdom, France, China, United Arab Emirates and key U.S. markets30.

Return on investment for these types of missions has been significant. The 13 Team Canada Atlantic missions are a prime example, with over $40 million in sales generated, resulting in over a six‑to‑one return on investment for the Agency. Furthermore, the 490 Atlantic SMEs who have participated in these missions held over 3,300 business meetings with potential clients. In 2006-2007, the Team Canada Atlantic missions assisted 62 exporters increase their export-readiness in the Florida market, with 31 SMEs developing new markets and over $60 million in forecasted sales.33

Federal-provincial initiatives play key roles in the Agency’s development of the export capacity of the Atlantic region. In addition to Team Canada Atlantic missions, the International Business Development Program also posted strong results. This program, aimed at strengthening exporting in Atlantic Canada, helped SMEs become first-time exporters, and increased sales to current markets for 16 SMEs34. For more information on this horizontal initiative and other initiatives please refer to http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rma/eppi-ibdrp/hrdb-rhbd/profil_e.asp.

Skills development activities continued to be focused on potential, export-ready, and existing exporters. Such activities provide training and mentoring tailored to the specific requirements of the businesses, while building a cadre of capable trade consultants in the region. Initiatives in 2006-2007 addressed trade mentoring for women and youth, and assisted over 30 Atlantic SMEs on two missions to the Chicago and Boston markets.

ACOA’s trade strategy also includes a research agenda focusing on SME export development needs and sectoral export capability. Progress in 2006-2007 included the completion of a study, Competing in the Global Economy: Atlantic Canada’s Recent Export Performance and Trade Policy Issues35, resulting in recommendations regarding areas where the Agency could provide further assistance, such as emerging growth sectors energy and environmental technologies in Atlantic Canada. Sector export strategies in the cultural industries, agri-food, boatbuilding, aerospace and defence, oil and gas, and wind energy were also developed and implemented in 2006-2007.

Text Box: Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership results: • Over 4,000 firms have increased their export readiness since 2002 Source: ACOA Performance Reports 2002-2006 ACOA continues to be a strong advocate for trade initiatives that benefit Atlantic Canada, co-ordinating efforts between stakeholders and further developing policies that influence national and regional policy. Through the Enhanced Representation Initiative, a federal government initiative aimed at increasing Canada’s presence in the U.S., the Agency undertook several advocacy activities in key U.S. markets including Boston, Chicago and Miami.

The Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership enabled the Agency to undertake comprehensive pan-Atlantic and provincially‑based trade development initiatives on various scales. These initiatives built upon existing partnerships established with ACOA’s trade partners, and helped thousands of firms increase their export-readiness. A mid-term evaluation of ATIP was completed in 2006-2007 highlighting areas of growth. Key elements of focus since the evaluation have included stronger emphasis on follow-up and aftercare, new exporters, and new market development. ACOA will continue to enhance these successes with future strategies and continue to build on these results.

For more information on trade, see ACOA’s website at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/business/trade/index.shtml

2.1.1.4  Program Sub-activity:  Investment

Projects designed to attract foreign direct investment (i.e. encourage foreign corporations to establish/invest in Atlantic Canada).


Expected Results:  Increased foreign direct investment in Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results: 36

  • Increased awareness of Atlantic Canada as a profitable place to do business (by potential stakeholders and investors)
  • 55 to 60 enquiries for further information with regard to investing in Atlantic Canada
  • 335 enquiries through ACOA’s investment website, Canadian embassies and consulates, and conference lead sources
  • Number of qualified investment suspects, leads and prospects37 provided to key players and developed through ACOA
  • 20 to 25
  • 237 suspects and leads, developed through ACOA, were provided to regional partners

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Annual reporting with data from internal reports.


Text Box: Five key elements of investment: 1. Investment research 2. Information management/ dissemination 3. Awareness and promotion 4. Investment partnerships 5. Lead development Foreign direct investment (FDI) plays a significant role in strengthening economic development, infrastructure, and building the industrial critical mass required to compete in the global economy. FDI plays a major role in the Canadian economy - one in every ten jobs can be attributed to FDI.38 Research has shown that FDI in Canada stimulates innovation, improves productivity, and creates better paying jobs, wealth and a more competitive business environment. In 2006 FDI accounted for one-third ($3.2 billion) of private sector investments in Atlantic Canada.39 When oil and gas investments are excluded, Atlantic Canada’s share of inward FDI is 4.1% of the national total, well below its share (5.9%) of the gross domestic product (GDP).40 These figures demonstrate the significant potential for FDI growth in the region.  

Investment attraction requires a focused strategy and a dedicated program. Over 70 projects41 have been completed since 2002, in collaboration with provincial partners, contributing to a 23% increase in FDI in the region.42 In 2006-2007, 237 leads were distributed to regional partners for follow-up and action43, and ACOA was instrumental in establishing 20 FDI projects in Atlantic Canada.

Research remains a key element of the Agency’s investment strategy. ACOA has focused its research on the identification and analysis of key factors influencing investment location decisions by foreign corporations, and major trends in the international community. The findings of this research permitted the Agency to highlight key benefits of investing in Atlantic Canada to potential investors.

Through investment market intelligence efforts, the Agency identified over 100 investment opportunities and provided timely intelligence to partners, including provinces and municipalities, thus increasing foreign direct investment opportunities.44

Awareness and promotion activities continued to play an integral part of the Agency’s investment strategy. ACOA carried out a strategic program to increase awareness of Atlantic Canada as a profitable location to do business among select U.S. and European investment markets, and key sectors such as financial services, nearshoring / IT outsourcing, information communication-technology, aerospace/defence, and life sciences.

Text Box: ACOA’s investment strategy has enabled comprehensive pan-Atlantic and provincially based investment development initiatives such as: • lead identification and development • advertising and direct marketing campaigns • investment conference co-ordination and participation • corporate and site selector familiarization • utilizing in-market consultants • trade and investment missions to key markets. In 2006-2007, the Agency undertook numerous sector-specific awareness and promotional activities – creating new promotional material, updating existing material, initiating an investment advertising campaign, and revising ACOA’s investment website. These activities led to an increase in awareness of Atlantic Canada as a profitable place to do business, as demonstrated by the 335 enquiries from foreign investors and stakeholders for further information on investing in the region.

The Agency has improved investment partnerships with federal and provincial partners through the pan-Atlantic Investment Co-ordination Committee, through participation in federal-provincial/territorial meetings. This committee was created as a vehicle for pooling human and financial resources to create greater critical mass in investment marketing and development activities in select U.S. and European investment communities. Advantages of this partnership include reduced duplication in investment intelligence and research, awareness, and promotion.

2.1.1.5  Program Sub-activity:  Tourism

Projects designed to contribute to increased growth, profitability and wages in the tourism sector through planning, advocacy and market research; product development, marketing and readiness; strategic investment in infrastructure, amenities and facilities; enhanced quality of tourism product; and extended the tourism season or multi-seasonal expansion.


Expected Results:  Increased growth and competitiveness of tourism industry

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Productivity growth rate ratio of ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1.5 to 2
  • Productivity target not achieved.
    - ACOA-assisted: 1% decrease
    - Non-assisted: 2% increase
  • Employment growth:
    - ACOA-assisted: 77% increase
    - Non-assisted: 34% increase
    - Ratio of 2.3
  • Payroll growth rate ratio of ACOA‑assisted firms over non‑assisted firms
  • Ratio of 1.5 to 2
  • Payroll growth target not achieved.
    - ACOA-assisted: 69% increase
    - Non-assisted: 64% increase
    - Ratio of 1.1

 

Three-year Target
(2005-2006- to 2007-2008)

 

  • Tourism-related revenue in Atlantic Canada
  • $9.1 billion
  • $6.21 billion (on target)

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Annual targets are measured through analysis of data from Statistics Canada. Three‑year target is measured through analysis of data from provincial tourism departments.


As an economic sector, tourism offers significant wealth and job creation opportunities for Atlantic Canadians. In 2006, tourism represented almost 6% of the Atlantic region’s gross domestic product; generated $3.18 billion in new revenues; provided $500 million in tax revenues; and employed 114,000 Atlantic Canadians.45

In 2006‑2007, the Agency delivered a wide and varied range of marketing, capacity building and capital investment initiatives. As the catalyst for tourism innovation in Atlantic Canada, ACOA’s partnerships with tourism industry associations, private sector groups, provincial and municipal governments, and other federal departments and agencies fostered a co‑operative, regional approach to tourism in Atlantic Canada. ACOA’s programming helped focus government and industry attentions on strategic tourism investments, leading to the increased growth and competitiveness of the region’s tourism industry.

To measure the Agency’s performance in delivering programs to the tourism sector, payroll growth and productivity growth are calculated for ACOA‑assisted firms and compared with that of non-assisted firms.46 From 1994 to 2004, payroll for ACOA‑assisted firms grew by 69%, compared with 64% for non-assisted firms. While the Agency’s ambitious target has not been met, payroll growth for ACOA‑assisted firms has outpaced that of non-assisted firms. The Agency also did not meet its targets in terms of productivity growth in the tourism sector. Productivity growth for ACOA-assisted firms was marginally lower than that of non-assisted firms. On the other hand, ACOA-assisted firms have outperformed non-assisted firms in terms of job creation. From 1994 to 2004, employment in ACOA-assisted firms categorized as small increased by 77% compared with 34% for non-assisted firms, more than doubling the rate of non-assisted firms.47

Promoting Atlantic Canada as a Tourism Destination

In 2006‑2007, ACOA continued to promote Atlantic Canada as a tourism destination in international markets. The Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP) exemplifies the Agency’s approach to marketing. ACTP is mandated to build strong industry‑government relationships for marketing Atlantic Canada as a tourism destination in international markets. This partnership performed exceptionally well in 2006, a year that witnessed escalating gasoline prices, increased global competition, a weaker U.S. economy, a stronger Canadian dollar, and concerns over U.S. passport requirements.


Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Revenue-on-investment

 

Target

Result

Overall

14:1

$15.80

U.S. Program

14:1

$17.81

Overseas Program

6:1

$3.96


Every “partnered” dollar invested in the ACTP in 2006 resulted in approximately $16 in tourism spending in Atlantic Canada, exceeding the 14:1 objective.48 The ACTP’s U.S. consumer advertising campaign, which produced $82.9 million in advertising‑produced revenue, achieved $22.74 spent for each dollar invested.49

ACOA programming directed at building tourism capacity in Atlantic Canada is exemplified by initiatives such as the Bouctouche Sustainable Tourism Communities; the Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST); as well as the Competitiveness Through Best Practices and Total Market Readiness programs. Participation included an excellent cross‑section of tourism industry representatives from all four provinces.

The Bouctouche project has educated 21 communities and 251 community leaders in sustainable tourism development over the past three years.50 An internal assessment of the program evidenced the need for ACOA to refocus activities away from training communities and more toward providing technical and professional support, thereby enabling communities to implement the lessons learned. A redesigned project was developed and is scheduled for delivery in the fall of 2007.

In 2006‑2007, the Gros Morne project exposed approximately 85 tourism professionals to sustainable tourism training programs directed at outdoor, nature‑based and eco‑tourism experiences.51 Ten best practices missions provided 111 tourism planners and businesses with firsthand industry knowledge and information on tourism products that exemplify attributes such as quality, high productivity, extended seasonality, and motivation to travel.52

Text Box: Total Market Readiness Program • Business reviews on operating deficiencies • Mystery shopping programs identify quality of product and service weaknesses • Market readiness toolboxes assist SMEs to develop and implement customized business and operational plans Total Market Readiness programs were established in three of the four Atlantic provinces, in partnership with the region’s tourism industry associations. These programs will team tourism operators with experienced professionals guiding and directing business improvement.

Co-ordinated Federal Presence in Atlantic Canada

ACOA’s industry and public partnerships continue to bring a co‑ordinated, regional approach to tourism development in Atlantic Canada. These partnerships focus attention on the development of priority tourism sub‑sectors, and seamlessly communicate the importance of product quality and sustainable tourism experiences. Partnerships include: Atlantic Canada Cruise Association, Atlantic Economuseum Network, Signature Attractions of Atlantic Canada, Commission du Tourisme Acadien du Canada Atlantique, and Tourism Technology (four tourism associations representing 3,000 SMEs).

Text Box: Success through partnerships: Canadian Tourism Commission Parks Canada Canadian Heritage Provincial departments of tourism Regional tourism industry associations Other tourism groups ACOA Quarterly Tourism Working Group meetings contributed to a co‑ordinated, federal presence in Atlantic Canada, and provided a venue for exchanges of information and discussions on issues of regional importance. Through this working group, ACOA has created an internal forum for policy, program and strategy development at both the provincial and regional levels.

Tourism Partnerships

ACOA’s partnership approach to tourism development is further demonstrated by its commitment to the Discovery Trail Tourism Association’s multi‑season extension pilot project in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Island Pathways development and Trails for Tourism Strategy in Cape Breton; support for tourism capacity building, planning, and multi‑season marketing initiatives in mainland Nova Scotia; the Aboriginal Tourism Strategy and innovation and leadership initiative in New Brunswick; and its support to the development of regional tourism destinations and multi‑season marketing initiatives in Prince Edward Island.

2.1.1.6  Program Sub-activity:  Other Support to SMEs

Projects that cannot be attributed to other sub-activities, that directly support increased private sector investment, business planning, marketing for the domestic market, or that establish venture and seed capital funds.


Expected Results:
1)      Increased activity in SME establishment, expansion and modernization related to the domestic market
2)      Enhanced availability and utilization of risk capital in Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Three‑year Targets:
(2005‑2006 to 2007‑2008)

Results:
(to date)

1) Increase in sales

  • Stabilize or increase sales
  • On track

Increase in wages and salaries

  • Stabilize or increase wages
  • On track

2) Number of investments by venture capital funds

  • 60 deals
  • 39 deals

Dollars of financing involved

  • $150 million
  • $70 million

Dollars leveraged from investors based outside region

  • $75 million
  • $10 million

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from Statistics Canada, internal systems, project reviews and evaluations, as well as published documents from venture capital firms and industry associations.


Ensuring there is adequate capital available to finance reasonable business opportunities is a task on which the Agency is focused. From providing direct funding toward establishment and expansion/modernization to stimulating the financial markets, ACOA strives to create an environment where entrepreneurs and companies can grow their businesses successfully.

During 2006-2007, ACOA approved 28 projects for a total of $10.3 million toward new business establishments. Ninety-two projects for the expansion or modernization of existing businesses were approved, representing an Agency commitment of $13 million. ACOA’s investment is part of a total $43 million being invested in the 92 projects. The Agency’s support will ensure the continuity of operations and the improvement in productivity of these various companies, which did not have ready or sufficient access to conventional financing sources.

ACOA also contributed $2.3 million to 20 companies to help them with domestic marketing activities in order to increase their sales. Furthermore, $2.7 million in contributions was approved for 25 projects led by non‑profit groups and associations aiming to enhance the environment in which Atlantic Canadian companies operate. Of particular interest, the Agency approved a contribution to the Council of Atlantic Premiers to fund a study to determine needs of SMEs in accessing capital. This study originated from the Access to Capital Table, a working group established under the federal-provincial Senior Officials Committee (see section 2.3.3 Co-ordination for further information on this initiative).

During the year, the Agency approved two projects related to angel networks. The first project enabled the St. John’s Board of Trade to establish a new angel network. The second one involved the First Angel Network Association (FAN), a Halifax‑based group that already had members in the three Maritime Provinces. This second project supports the education mandate of the network by helping FAN deliver “Attracting Equity Capital” seminars, which were held in the four Atlantic provinces. These sessions prepare entrepreneurs to seek and obtain equity investment from angels, venture capital funds, and public share offerings.

ACOA also contributed financially to microcredit activities, such as the 3rd Global Microcredit Summit, which took place in Halifax in November 2006. This was the first time the summit had been held outside of the United States (the first two being held in New York and Washington, D.C. respectively). This summit was attended by more than 2,000 participants from over 100 countries, and highlighted the economic development possibilities of making even tiny seed investments in small business ventures.

Venture capital (VC) activity experienced a very positive rebound in Atlantic Canada in 2006. There was $42 million invested in 23 companies, a significant increase over 2005 when $20 million was invested in 14 companies. ACOA contributes to GrowthWorks Atlantic Venture Fund, which was a major player in this rebound. Through its contribution, ACOA played a significant role in re‑energizing the VC market in Atlantic Canada, which had been suffering from the absence of a lead VC investor.

Fiscal year 2006-2007 proved to be a good year in terms of drawing attention to the challenges for businesses in accessing the capital they require. However, there is much work to be done in the gaps that remain. By funding strategic projects such as GrowthWorks Atlantic, angel networks, and microcredit initiatives, ACOA is fostering the development of the financial markets in Atlantic Canada. The Agency’s objective is to grow and ensure the availability of the continuum of financing for Atlantic small and medium‑sized enterprises, so that all companies can reasonably access the financing they require to be successful.

2.1.2  Program Activity:  Access to Business Information

Provide accurate, timely and relevant business information to Atlantic Canadians.


Expected Results:  Access for Atlantic Canadians to accurate, timely and relevant business information.

Indicator:

Two-year Target
(2006-2007 to 2007-2008)

Result:

  • Percentage of clients indicating satisfaction with information they received (from Canada Business service centres)
  • 75% to 80%
  • 85%

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from client surveys



Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

2.8

2.9

3.953

 

22

44

(22)53


Atlantic Canadians interested in starting or growing a business need convenient access to information on government regulations, programs and resources. Typical questions relate to business start‑up, business planning, securing financing, market research, human resource management, international trade, and protecting intellectual property. The Government of Canada offers a convenient way to get answers to these inquiries through the tools and services of Canada Business.

In Atlantic Canada, Canada Business has service centres in each provincial capital city, with access being further enhanced through websites and over 100 regional access partners that help connect clients with the information available. This Atlantic Canadian network includes over 40 Aboriginal business service centres that tailor information to the needs of First Nations business people. ACOA’s role in Canada Business is to act as the federal managing partner in Atlantic Canada. A secretariat, within Industry Canada, provides for co‑ordination of this national initiative.

The objective of Canada Business is to improve service to small and medium‑sized businesses, as well as new and potential entrepreneurs, including new Canadians. This is achieved by making available comprehensive information, and providing referrals on government services, programs and compliance requirements for both the federal, provincial and municipal levels of government. By serving as the “first stop for business information”, Canada Business reduces the complexity of dealing with various levels of government. Less time spent by business people on trying to find the right information means more time spent on making their businesses productive and competitive.

A key indicator of Canada Business performance is client satisfaction, which is measured by surveys. A survey completed in 2006‑2007 showed that 85% of those using these services in Atlantic Canada were satisfied with the quality of the information received. In fact, 87% of respondents believed that the staff at the centres “went the extra mile”54. This service helped to make a difference in the lives of Canadians, with 55% of respondents indicating that it helped them start a business.

Efforts to continually improve client services are ongoing. For example, surveys55 revealed that clients would like the information on Canada Business websites to be easier to locate and use. Canada Business will look for ways to enhance access to and usability of this information.

Progress was also made in 2006-2007 in terms of planning, with all service centres across Canada participating in an improved planning process. This resulted in agreed‑upon priorities to improve service in the coming year. As well, the Atlantic centres participated in a national media campaign to improve awareness of the services offered by Canada Business.

More information is available at http://www.canadabusiness.gc.ca.

2.2  Strategic Outcome #2 – Community Development

Improved community economic infrastructure and strategic planning capacity, leading to improved employment opportunities and economic growth in the Atlantic region. 


Expected Results:  Increased economic opportunities for Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Five‑year Targets:
(2003‑2004 to 2007‑2008)

Results:

  • Impact on earned incomes in communities
  • Stabilize or increase earned incomes in communities
  • On track
  • Impact on employment growth in communities
  • Stabilize or increase employment growth in communities
  • On track

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from Statistics Canada

 


The Atlantic economy is built on the region’s many geographic, linguistic and cultural communities. The Agency supports Atlantic Canadian communities in their efforts to develop the resources they need to take full responsibility for their own economic development. ACOA works in co‑operation with other levels of government, other federal government departments, non‑government organizations, and community groups to lever support and co‑ordinate economic development.

Text Box: Community Development program activities: 1. Community Economic Development 2. Special Adjustment Measures 3. Infrastructure Programming Community development is a bottom‑up process that helps develop the tools, resources and initiatives that support individual and unique strategic development.

The support that ACOA provides to community development is strengthening the rural economy. Healthier businesses in rural communities contribute to employment creation and increase earned income in these regions.

ACOA’s main tool for community development is the Innovative Communities Fund (ICF). In fiscal 2006-2007, ICF committed over $58 million toward 167 projects across the Atlantic region. ICF projects diversify and enhance the economies of Atlantic communities. The fund capitalizes on the opportunities and strengths that exist in these communities to develop competitive, productive, strategic industry sectors; strengthen infrastructure in rural communities; and invest in projects that enhance communities’ capacity to overcome economic development challenges.

In 2006-2007, ACOA continued to address communities’ needs and priorities, and supported communities in achieving new growth and economic opportunities. ACOA’s support, through the Community Futures Program to Community Business Development Corporations, and through the Business Development Program to Regional Economic Development Organizations ensures that these organizations have the capacity to play a key role in community development.

Atlantic Canada’s Aboriginal demographic is composed of diverse communities. From small remote villages to larger urban centres, the opportunities and challenges vary significantly. This requires a flexible, holistic approach, based on the realities of a given community’s capacities, strengths and challenges. The responsibility for Aboriginal economic development is shared with other federal government departments. For this reason, ACOA contributes to the shared responsibility of Aboriginal economic development by working through a number of co‑ordinating tripartite mechanisms involving Aboriginals and other federal and provincial authorities in developing a more co-ordinated response to address First Nations economic development issues and needs.

ACOA also works closely with French language minority communities to ensure service in French to its Acadian and Francophone clientele. This clientele is comprised of economic development stakeholders in the region’s minority language communities. Beyond the mere provision of service in the French-language, ACOA works through collaboration and consultations to enhance the vitality of the French-language minority community through economic development. ACOA uses the Business Development Program, the Innovative Communities Fund, and funds accessed through its partnerships, to support the official language minority communities to engage in economic development projects of an incremental nature.

ACOA also plays a role in special adjustment measures seeking to reduce or lessen the impact of economic downturns in the region, ultimately resulting in the lessening of what would otherwise have been economic crises. In fiscal 2006-2007, the only targeted adjustment program being delivered by ACOA was the Saint John Shipyard Initiative, in response to the closure of the shipyard in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Finally, infrastructure programming enhances municipal infrastructure in urban and rural communities throughout Atlantic Canada. ACOA is the federal entity responsible for delivering and implementing the Government of Canada’s current infrastructure programming in the Atlantic region. In fiscal 2006-2007, the majority of infrastructure projects were funded by Infrastructure Canada (funding agent), specifically through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund. This fund is directed to improve and increase public infrastructure in areas such as water, wastewater, cultural and recreation, those very things that make Atlantic communities vibrant and productive places to live, work and raise families. A total of $59.8 million was invested in 167 Atlantic region projects for green municipal infrastructure projects, as well as other types of infrastructure projects.

2.2.1  Program Activity:  Community Economic Development

Projects that help communities build their capacity and confidence in order to identify and co‑ordinate the implementation of priorities for economic development in their region. These projects would be supported via community economic development organizations that, in turn: provide financial and technical assistance to businesses and communities; conduct strategic planning; co‑ordinate economic development; and implement a range of self‑sustaining development projects under strategic community economic development initiatives. Community economic development organizations can be any organization that supports projects at a local, community and sub‑community or municipal level.


Expected Results:  Enhanced business and economic opportunities for Atlantic Canada communities

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Jobs created by CBDCs and Seed Capital Program
  • 1,600 jobs
  • Level of strategic investment in communities (CBDCs and Seed Capital Program investments)
  • $42.8 million
    1,600 loans
  • $54 million57
    1,799 loans

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of CBDC report data, and internal systems data


 


Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

42.8

102.2

111.458

 

79

154

(75)


ACOA works in co‑operation with communities, making strategic investments to capitalize on opportunities for sustainable economic growth and to build community development capacity. In doing so, ACOA invests in the development of critical economic development infrastructure. These investments capitalize on the capacity, strengths and opportunities present in the community, as identified in community economic development plans and strategies.

Text Box: Community Futures Program 2006 2007 results: • $45.9 million invested in SMEs • Over 7,800 counselling sessions • Over 1,000 loans ACOA’s main tool for community development is the Innovative Communities Fund (ICF). The fund capitalizes on the opportunities and strengths that exist in these communities to develop competitive, productive and strategic industry sectors; strengthen community infrastructure in rural communities; and invest in projects that enhance communities’ capacity to overcome economic development challenges. In fiscal 2006 2007, the ICF committed over $58 million toward 167 projects across the Atlantic region. ICF projects diversify and enhance the economies of Atlantic communities.

ACOA continued in 2006‑2007 to fund 41 Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) in rural Atlantic Canada through the Community Futures Program. These CBDCs run by community-based boards of directors focused on local community economic development. Contributions permit CBDCs to provide an essential source of investment capital that focuses on rural small business, as well as business counselling and skills development.59ACOA also worked with the CBDCs and urban-based business support organizations to assist Atlantic Canadians, through the Seed Capital Program, which allows the borrowers to acquire the business skills and capital needed to start, modernize and expand their businesses. In fiscal 2006-2007, over $8 million was invested through 712 projects, supporting the creation of 975 jobs.60

In co‑operation with other levels of government, ACOA continued to support 52 Regional Economic Development Organizations (REDOs). These REDOs are responsible for the co‑ordination, development and implementation of strategic economic development at the local and regional level. In support of these activities, ACOA invested a total of $10.1 million in operational funding to the REDOs for fiscal 2006‑2007.61As a result of this investment, 59 strategic plans were developed in rural communities in 2006‑2007. These plans assisted communities in assessing their strengths and weaknesses in order to implement strategic initiatives that will contribute to the economic growth of their regions.

In line with these community strategic plans, 85 community‑based projects were supported, totalling $10.6 million in additional ACOA investments from its Business Development Program in 2006-2007. In addition, 15 strategic initiatives and 33 community‑based projects were supported by ACOA investments (through its ICF) totalling $11.6 million.62

Some of these projects include initiatives such as:

  • The official opening of the Wind Energy Institute of Canada (WEICan) in Prince Edward Island. This project built upon the former Atlantic Wind Test Site. Over the course of a five‑year period, the local REDO worked through sector strategies, conceptual plans, local steering committees and expert advisory panels to ensure that the vision of WEICan was what this sector needed and what was best for the local community. ACOA’s involvement was seen as instrumental in the creation of this Institute.
  • Propelsj, in New Brunswick, whose main thrust will be to establish the ground work and the day-to-day operations of a virtual IT incubator. This incubator, also known as “Accelerator”, will bring together industry leaders with fledging IT start-ups in order to provide them with expertise in various businesses and IT disciplines to improve their chances of success. This new project resulted in over a dozen mentors having signed on, and three new companies are now part of the projects.
  • A two-year initiative by the Long Range Regional Economic Development Board in Newfoundland and Labrador to develop and implement bilingual CED initiatives, enabling the board, the Long Range Community Business Development Corporation and l’Association rgionale de la cte ouest, to collaboratively develop and implement bilingual CED initiatives throughout a region of the province with a rich French history dating back to the 18th century.
  • A world class tourism and heritage site under development at the Joggins fossil cliffs in Cumberland County, Nova Scotia. ACOA has partnered with provincial and municipal governments to provide the financial resources that will help the community realize this project through strategic planning efforts. The site will serve as an interpretive centre to showcase one of the world’s richest and most significant Coal Age fossil sites, which dates back 310 million years.

Atlantic Canada also includes a number of Aboriginal communities. These communities are small, often remote, and characterized by extremely high unemployment and a young rapidly growing population. In 2006-2007, ACOA supported a wide variety of projects in such diverse fields as accessibility to business information, business expansion, Aboriginal procurement, tourism, workplace skills, economic diversification as well as business and strategic planning.

The French-language minority community also plays an important role in Atlantic Canada. Almost 300,000 Acadians and Francophones live in the region, representing roughly one-third of the nation’s French-speaking population outside Quebec. In 2006‑2007, ACOA continued to collaborate with several Acadian and Francophone organizations across the region to enable the official language minority community to engage in activities that foster the sustainable community infrastructure necessary for economic development in these communities. For instance, ACOA lent support to two French-language universities and community colleges to enable them to develop course content for online teaching in various areas.

2.2.2  Program Activity:  Special Adjustment Measures

Support initiatives designed to address the specific economic adjustment needs of Atlantic Canadian communities.


Expected Results:  Partner with communities to manage and mitigate economic crises

Indicator:

Annual Target: (2006-2007)

Result:

  • Reduced or lessened impact of economic downturns
  • Develop a community adjustment approach to respond to communities facing serious unemployment issues in addition to permanent structural changes
  • On track – delivery of the Saint John Shipyard Initiative

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Evaluation of data from studies, surveys and internal evaluations



Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

24.5

13.0

13.1

 

0

2

(2)


There are circumstances in which federal government decisions, or impacts in an area of its mandate, have resulted in the need for a major adjustment in a community or region. These measures are based on the appropriation of new funds that are delivered through ACOA, as the economic development agency in Atlantic Canada. Each special adjustment measure has specific objectives, clients and performance measures.

In 2006-2007, ACOA continued to deliver the Saint John Shipyard Adjustment Initiative (SJSAI) in response to the closure of the shipyard in Saint John, New Brunswick. This initiative was designed to ensure the closure of shipyard operations and redevelopment of the site for other economic development use, through $55 million in total available funding.

The first project approved under the Shipyard Redevelopment Program (SRP) included a feasibility study to identify the best use for the former shipyard site and site improvements in order to remove impediments for future development. The total provisionally repayable contribution for this project is $9.95 million. The Shipyard Redevelopment Program led to an initial application under the SJSAI’s Industrial Diversification Program (IDP) to assist in the establishment of a gypsum wallboard manufacturing facility on the former shipyard site. This project was allocated $35 million in funding and is expected to be completed by March 31, 2008.

2.2.3  Program Activity:  Infrastructure Programming

Programming designed to renew and build infrastructure in rural and urban municipalities in Atlantic Canada.


Expected Results:  Enhanced infrastructure in urban and rural communities, and public infrastructure

Indicator:

Annual Target:
(2006-2007)

Result:

  • Investments in infrastructure projects in Atlantic Canada
  • $44.3 million63
  • $59.8 million63

Performance Measurement Strategy: Analysis of data from Shared Information Management System for Infrastructure (SIMSI)



Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

13.9

20.8

21.9

 

7

15

(8)


The provision and maintenance of quality public infrastructure provides the foundation for economic development and is critical for economic prosperity. Providing and effectively managing potable water, waste treatment facilities, highways, municipal roads and bridges and transit systems, all impact on economic growth, and many also have strong environmental implications. This requires programming designed to renew and build infrastructure in rural and urban municipalities in Atlantic Canada, through investments that protect the environment and support long-term economic growth. ACOA, working with Infrastructure Canada and the provinces, oversees and ensures the flow of federal funds allocated to each region through the various infrastructure funding streams. The priorities for Infrastructure Canada programs are green municipal infrastructure and local transportation infrastructure.


Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund

 

Green Municipal Infrastructure

Other Projects

Total Federal Investment ($)

NL

31

3

7,769,214

NB

15

4

12,194,421

NS

57

12

34,617,260

PEI

26

1

5,197,511

Total

129

36

59,778,406

Source: Shared Information Management System for Infrastructure (SIMSI)


Community-based infrastructure programs are implemented by ACOA in the Atlantic region on behalf of the Government of Canada. The majority of infrastructure projects in fiscal 2006-2007 were funded by Infrastructure Canada through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF) [see the table at the right for project break-down by province and corresponding total investment]. The MRIF is directed to improve and increase public infrastructure in areas such as water, wastewater, culture, recreation, and those very things that make communities vibrant and productive places to live and work and raise families.

“Green municipal infrastructure” continues to be a priority, and agreements actually identify an investment target for green projects. This essentially includes water and wastewater systems, water management, solid waste management and recycling. In New Brunswick, this target is 70% of funding, and in the other three Atlantic provinces, it has been set at 60%. Agreements are in place in all four Atlantic provinces and memorandums of understanding have been executed between Infrastructure Canada (part of the Transport, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio) and ACOA to facilitate delivery. Under the MRIF, funds are placed in an OGD (other government department) suspense account under the direction of Infrastructure Canada.

The Infrastructure Canada Program (ICP) in Atlantic Canada is nearly 100% committed with 700 approved projects. This program began in 2000 and was scheduled to terminate March 31, 2006. In the course of the implementation of the ICP, some jurisdictions experienced delays in project approvals with a result that not all funding has been committed in some jurisdictions, and not all projects have been initiated. As a result they could not be completed by the scheduled program termination date. Therefore, the terms and conditions of the ICP have been extended, and projects must now be completed by March 31, 2008. The deadline for project approvals was December 31, 2005 (June 30, 2006, in Newfoundland and Labrador).

For more information on infrastructure programming, see Infrastructure Canada’s website at: http://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/ip-pi/index_e.shtml.

2.3  Strategic Outcome #3 – Policy, Advocacy and Co‑ordination

Strategic researched policy positions that reflect the region’s potential; influence on national policies and programs that affect Atlantic development and interests; and co‑ordination of other federal departments’ policies and programs within the region to form integrated approaches to development, leading to strengthened economic development in Atlantic Canada.


Expected Results:  Provide policy leadership and advocate Atlantic Canada’s interest in economic policy and programming

Indicator:

Five-year Targets:
(2003-2004 to 2007-2008)

Result:

  • New or improved policy positions and strategies on regional development in Atlantic Canada
  • Five positions / strategies
  • On track. Analysis over a five‑year period ends in 2007‑2008
  • Renewing the federal government’s support to regional development in Atlantic Canada
  • Continued government support to Agency priorities
  • On track. Analysis over a five‑year period ends in 2007‑2008

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of information from ACOA’s Policy Network and key informant survey, as well as indicators from the federal government’s budget speech, Speech from the Throne, and decisions by central agencies.


ACOA is the Government of Canada’s main instrument for dealing with economic opportunities and challenges in Atlantic Canada. In doing so, ACOA is attuned to federal economic priorities as expressed in Advantage Canada, Canada’s strategic plan.64 The overarching realities that are driving the federal government’s economic priorities – emerging international economies and changing trade patterns; the importance of productivity and higher value activities – are issues that Atlantic Canada is currently addressing.

The Agency’s policy work is providing a well-grounded base of understanding for the development of ACOA’s strategic priorities and initiatives, for program design, and as input to major resource allocation decisions. Through its legislation, ACOA is mandated to co-ordinate policies and programs of the Government of Canada in relation to opportunities for economic development in Atlantic Canada. The advocacy function at ACOA serves to influence national decision-making processes to improve the position of Atlantic industries through engagement in the policy process with other departments, and pursuing regional industrial benefits from public sector procurement.

ACOA’s Policy, Advocacy and Co-ordination activities have assisted in addressing a variety of challenges and opportunities for Atlantic Canada, and continue to ensure that the Atlantic region maximizes its contribution to tackling federal priorities as well. For example, the region is experiencing labour force supply and productivity issues due in large part to demographic decline, aging and out-migration. The work that ACOA is doing with respect to population issues in the region is in line with the Government of Canada’s knowledge advantage.

ACOA has sought to build Canada’s knowledge and entrepreneurial advantage by prioritizing innovation and commercialization for the region, supporting regional partnership initiatives, improving community innovation capacity, and modernizing SME projects. In 2006-2007, ACOA led discussions that produced a framework that focuses on the productivity of the region’s resource industries.

The Agency’s work on the Atlantic Gateway demonstrates that ACOA is well-positioned and plays a central role in helping the region respond to parallel national strategies and frameworks. It offers opportunities to explore and encourage increased co-ordination and involvement of the private sector in the development of the region in this regard.

ACOA’s advocacy efforts allow the Agency to remain flexible in responding and contributing to federal and regional priorities. Being the federal entity responsible for delivery of the Government of Canada’s current infrastructure programming in Atlantic Canada, ACOA, through its advocacy frameworks, continues to build on its experience to effectively respond to the advocacy and co-ordination challenges of infrastructure and related programming.

Other evidence of activities undertaken and results achieved during 2006-2007 is presented in the subsequent sections. These sections highlight examples of how ACOA is providing policy leadership, co-ordination expertise, and advocacy for the region. By representing Atlantic Canada’s interests in economic policy and programming, ACOA is contributing to new and improved policy positions and strategies in the area of regional development.

2.3.1  Program Activity:  Policy

Carrying out policy analysis and research to determine the areas in which the Agency will act to most effectively carry out its mandate.


Expected Results: Increase internal and external capacity to identify and explore issues critical to developing policies and designing and improving programs

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results

  • Impact of new policies/strategies on programs and initiatives
  • Continuation of program and policy review activity based on environmental scanning and issue analysis
  • Ongoing, as shown in examples below
  • Usefulness and impact of studies
  • Studies and research relevant to the Government and Atlantic Canada priorities
  • Relevant research and studies conducted on a range of priority issues for Atlantic Canada and the Government of Canada
  • Increased capacity of partners/researchers to participate in policy development
  • Creation of inventory of researchers
  • Inventory of researchers maintained and updated

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Annual analysis of information from project reports, key informant survey managed by the Agency’s policy network, and Atlantic Policy Research Initiative reports. In addition, every five years, the Agency will conduct a formal evaluation to measure the two indicators “impact of new policies/strategies on programs and initiatives” and “usefulness and impact of studies."



Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

11.0

6.5

5.9

 

29

41

(12)


In order to provide a clear and well-grounded base of understanding of Atlantic Canada’s circumstances and issues, the Agency’s policy function conducts and supports ongoing analysis of issues and trends, challenges and opportunities facing the region, and encourages and fosters stakeholder engagement in that regard. ACOA’s policy work seeks to input to national policy development and federal-provincial relations, including the development of policies, frameworks and strategic advice.

The Agency’s policy activities include internal and external research and analysis of issues and trends, and the engagement of federal, provincial, and other public and private stakeholders on issues affecting the development of the Atlantic economy. These activities provide policy leadership and strategic direction.

ACOA supports a dedicated research program, the Atlantic Policy Research Initiative (APRI). APRI’s pan-Atlantic research activities help to provide strategic advice and information to decision makers within ACOA, the federal government and provinces, and other regional institutions and organizations. Strategically focused on issues affecting the regional development of Atlantic Canada, APRI actively involves public and private sector partners and stakeholders from across the region and outside it.

The APRI evaluation conducted in 2005 demonstrated the program’s relevance and usefulness to stakeholders65, and the program continued to demonstrate its commitment to the development of policy research capacity in the region in 2006-2007. The inventory of research organizations and researchers, which was created in 2005, was updated in 2006-2007, and now includes additional researchers who contribute to policy research and analysis impacting Atlantic Canada.

Examples of APRI activity in 2006-2007:

  • 21 projects were approved, involving conferences and round tables, and research reports and studies.
  • Published reports include:
    • The Economic Impact of Universities in the Atlantic Provinces66
    • The Ocean Technology Sector in Atlantic Canada67
    • The Changing Global Economy: The Implications and Opportunities for Transportation in Atlantic Canada68

Sound advice related to regional development in Atlantic Canada requires a thorough understanding of the region’s economy. Through the preparation and distribution of regular reports on the economic situation (Economic Overview of Atlantic Canada; Labour Market Conditions in Atlantic Canada, and Export Performance in Atlantic Canada), ACOA contributes to increased knowledge of circumstances facing the Atlantic region that need to be considered when making policy decisions. Economic research and analysis related to productivity, resource industries, foreign investment, demographics, and labour force trends were also undertaken and were used in supporting the development of policy strategies and positions taken by ACOA. An econometric impact analysis was also undertaken in 2006-2007 with respect to calculating the overall contribution of the aquaculture sector to the Atlantic Canadian economy.

The following examples from across the Agency are the types of activities undertaken in the areas of policy analysis, research and engagement throughout 2006-2007. These examples serve to document and demonstrate the short-term results that have materialized during this reporting period.

Policy Support to Innovation and Commercialization

Innovation and commercialization remain key drivers of competitiveness and productivity in Atlantic Canada, and ACOA’s research efforts continue in that regard. The Agency supported a Leaders’ Roundtable on Commercialization, led by the Conference Board of Canada, as well as the study The Economic Impact of Universities in the Atlantic Provinces,66 prepared for the Association of Atlantic Universities by Gardner Pinfold. The latter project was of particular relevance for a less urbanized region such as Atlantic Canada; the project assessed the needs and gathered useful data for potential economic solutions in terms of innovation and commercialization.

As ocean technology in Newfoundland and Labrador remains a key growth sector, Agency officials prepared and disseminated a discussion paper, Towards Expanding Newfoundland and Labrador’s Ocean Technology Cluster, to officials in the provincial Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Ocean Technology, Industry Canada, Oceans Advance, and the City of St. John’s for consideration in development of a strategy for ocean industry development. Funding was also provided to a national study, Global Markets for Ocean Observation Systems,69 the findings of which were helpful to the Agency in the development of a policy position on ocean observing as a catalyst for ocean technology industry development.

Over the course of 2006-2007, ACOA’s support to the Canada-Nova Scotia Innovation Team expanded to include full secretariat support for the team, as well as thematic support on the commercialization file, one of two thematic issues addressed by the team (community development is the other).

In order to contribute to Prince Edward Island’s (and Atlantic Canada’s) productivity and competitiveness in the bio-science sector, the Agency conducted considerable background research and analysis on the bio-science sector in Rhode Island in order to identify lessons learned for companies in the region.

Policy Support to the Atlantic Gateway

In terms of the region’s trade relationship and environment, two key APRI-funded projects can be highlighted. The Atlantic Provinces Economic Council’s research paper The Changing Global Economy: The Implications and Opportunities for Transportation in Atlantic Canada,70 and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada’s Embracing the Future: The Atlantic Gateway and Canada’s Trade Corridor,71 provided important foundational research to support policy development for the Atlantic Gateway. The latter project particularly helped contextualize the Atlantic region as a trade and transportation gateway within the national picture, and how an Atlantic Gateway could contribute to Canada’s competitiveness on the global stage.

The Agency also initiated a process in December 2006 for the development of an Atlantic Gateway business case, and a consultant was selected. The research involved considerable consultation with key stakeholders within and outside the region, and saw the collaboration of federal and provincial governments throughout the process.

Policy Support to Community Development

Research and analysis on community economic development (CED) models and capacity gaps was conducted by ACOA. The research focused on strengths and weaknesses in CED capacity, and proposed a more integrated framework for assessing various types of CED capacity.

Exploration of Future Opportunities and New Challenges

ACOA led the process to develop a framework for enhanced competitiveness in Atlantic Canada's renewable resource industries, based on improvements in regional collaboration, technology adoption, value-added, market development and strategic infrastructure. This framework was prepared with input from several federal departments and key departments of all four provincial governments.

In an effort to better understand the challenges and opportunities for economic growth within the context of an increasingly global economy, the Agency undertook an economic growth analysis study in New Brunswick. The study provides an analysis of the economic environment in the province and its regions, and provides recommendations for comprehensive short- and medium-term investment priorities and actions.

2.3.2  Program Activity:  Advocacy

Advocating the interests of Atlantic Canada to make new government initiatives more responsive to the needs of Atlantic Canada.


Expected Results:  Effective defence and promotion of Atlantic Canada’s interests

Indicator:

Five-year Target:
(2003-2004 to 2007-2008)

Result:

  • Impact of Agency positions taken with respect to policy and programs
  • Increase the impact and influence of ACOA participation on horizontal and other files important to Atlantic Canada
  • The advocacy function has been enhanced by a model that engages senior management as champions on key priorities for Atlantic Canada. This approach has proven to be flexible and responsive to aligning regional priorities with the directions of the federal government. Both horizontal and sectoral files have been advanced as identified in the examples provided below.

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Analysis of data from interviews with senior officials of economic development departments, and from the Agency’s files and procurement network


 


Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

4.0

4.1

3.3

 

23

38

(15)


ACOA’s advocacy function ensures the region’s interests are well understood and considered by the federal government’s decision makers, and that regional stakeholders are kept informed of government actions and opportunities that are relevant to the economic interests of Atlantic Canada. For example, as trade and investment activities were redefined under the government’s Global Commerce Strategy, ACOA ensured cohesion between the new strategy and its own programs as it related to trade and investment in various sectors. Advocacy efforts also included identifying industrial regional benefits and providing access to federal procurement contracts for Atlantic firms, with a focus on major projects that afford the potential for large-scale regional benefits.

Text Box: Advocacy Priorities: • Cities and communities • Energy • Commercialization • Aquaculture • Oceans • Atlantic population strategy • Tourism • Aerospace and defence The impact of the advocacy function has been enhanced by a model, introduced in the previous year, which engages ACOA’s senior management as champions in key regional priorities, supported by a cross-agency working group. ACOA reviews the priorities annually for effectiveness and implements changes to respond to government directions or shifting priorities in the Atlantic region. This flexibility is illustrated by the cities and communities file, which allowed ACOA to provide an ongoing regional perspective to national infrastructure program development and delivery. As federal priorities evolved, ACOA’s efforts shifted to identifying the region’s critical infrastructure needs and developing the Atlantic Gateway initiative.

In keeping with the government’s priority to make Canada a leader in energy, ACOA undertook a number of strategies and projects intended to further develop supplier opportunities and attract investment in the Atlantic Canada energy sector. For example, the Agency conducted an evaluation of domestic and international trade opportunities for Atlantic Canada’s oil and gas suppliers. Collaborative work with other government departments and stakeholders continued through the Atlantic Energy Round Table, which helped identify international best practices for offshore oil and gas development that could stimulate further investment. In conjunction with provincial energy departments, the electrical supply and demand in the region were assessed.

Building research capacity and enhancing commercialization are critical to Canada’s economy. To further the commercialization priority, ACOA was actively involved with Industry Canada officials in the development of the government’s science and technology strategy, to ensure that Atlantic Canada’s interests were well reflected. Support from ACOA programming, along with its advocacy efforts, have built science and technology capacity in the region. This has subsequently attracted further federal investments in Atlantic Canada. For example, Budget 2007 announced $15 million in funding for the Life Sciences Research Institute in Halifax.72

To ensure the needs of the Atlantic aquaculture industry were addressed, the Agency participated in various aquaculture networks focusing on governance renewal, infrastructure, research, development and commercialization, and risk management. Ongoing work with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and other key stakeholders addressed renewal of the fishing industry to make it more sustainable, economically viable and internationally competitive. This included the development of ocean technology initiatives and related policies and legislation to support a competitive ocean economy in Atlantic Canada.

The Agency continued its important partnerships with tourism industry associations, private sector groups, provincial and municipal governments, and other federal departments and agencies to promote a regional approach to tourism in Atlantic Canada. The goal of increased growth and competitiveness in the region’s tourism industry was facilitated by advocacy efforts to promote strategic tourism investments in the region. Quarterly tourism meetings contributed to a co‑ordinated, federal presence in Atlantic Canada, and provided a venue for discussion of issues of regional importance.

The Agency’s objectives on the population file were addressed through participation on the Atlantic Population Table, a federal‑provincial working group, including activities to be undertaken, and governance mechanisms for co‑operative actions. Furthermore, ACOA and the four provincial governments jointly supported pan‑Atlantic missions to five locations to attract potential immigrants to the region.

The federal industrial regional benefits (IRB) policy, especially as it relates to major Crown projects, is used by the Agency to promote industrial and regional development objectives. Specifically, ACOA uses the IRB policy to inform and advocate to national and multi‑national companies about Atlantic Canadian industrial capacity, and encourage bidders to work and partner with these companies. The beneficiaries are usually high technology companies that secure contracts within the aerospace and defence domain.

As part of this approach, the Agency monitors the development of federal procurement policies, and advocates for a strong IRB strategy in all major Crown projects. Other activities include the identification and development of capacity in companies within Atlantic Canada, collaboration with other government departments, and identification and matching of IRB companies with potential Atlantic suppliers to increase the region’s IRB opportunities.

Building on efforts over the past five years that have secured in excess of $1 billion of industrial and regional benefit commitments for firms in the Atlantic region, ACOA continues to pursue a multi‑year approach to promote the capacity of Atlantic companies as preferred suppliers, and to identify new IRB opportunities within major Crown procurement contracts. During 2006‑2007, ACOA’s advocacy for industrial regional benefits (IRBs) was focused on a number of significant military procurement projects, with particular attention paid to the “Canada First” procurements. Of these, a contract was awarded for the Strategic Airlift project, which included a commitment of $60 million over 10 years to Atlantic Canada. Although the tactical airlift and medium‑to‑heavy helicopter projects were not finalized in 2006‑2007, a commitment of 10% of contract values was guaranteed for the Atlantic region. In March 2007, ACOA led a mission of 15 Atlantic Canadian companies to meet with multinational companies based in the U.S. states of Georgia and Missouri, to facilitate IRB relationships on these projects.

Significant efforts were also devoted to the remaining “Canada First” procurements, the Joint Support Ship (JSS), and the Medium Support Vehicle System (MSVS). The Agency worked with potential bidders for the MSVS and the Halifax Class Modernization Project to maximize Atlantic Canadian participation in these projects. In addition, ACOA promoted participation of Atlantic companies on the anticipated Fixed Wing Search and Rescue Project and the Victoria class in‑service support contract.

2.3.3  Program Activity:  Co‑ordination

Engaging economic partners in addressing the Atlantic region’s strategic economic priorities.


Expected Results:  Co‑ordination of activities between ACOA, federal departments and provincial governments in Atlantic Canada

Indicators:

Annual Targets: (2006-2007)

Results:

  • Joint strategic initiatives that reflect commonly held positions on defined issues
  • Successful co-ordination of joint initiatives that are priorities for the Government of Canada and ACOA
  • Ongoing, as demonstrated through examples
  • Partnerships created to find solutions; areas of joint strategic interest identified
  • Progress achieved in addressing economic opportunities being pursued
  • Ongoing development and maintenance of meaningful partnerships so that solutions are found jointly to horizontal issues, such as Population and Atlantic Gateway

 

Five-year Target:
(2003-2004 to 2007-2008)

 

  • Impact on joint strategic initiatives
  • Progress achieved in addressing economic opportunities being pursued
  • Analysis over a five‑year period ends in 2007‑2008

Performance Measurement Strategy:  Annual targets will be measured through analysis of data from ACOA’s policy network, the Privy Council Office (Intergovernmental Affairs). Five‑year targets will be measured through analysis of data from project reports and interviews.


 


Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

1.8

1.8

2.2

 

12

37

(25)


The Agency is mandated by its legislation to “co-ordinate policies and programs of the Government of Canada in relation to opportunities for economic development of Atlantic Canada.” Working collaboratively with other federal departments and agencies, ACOA develops a coherent approach to horizontal strategies and initiatives that address developmental challenges and opportunities confronting economic development in the Atlantic region. In order to achieve a comprehensive approach, ACOA also works in partnership with Atlantic provincial governments, communities, and a range of private and public sector stakeholders.

2006-2007 saw the federal-provincial Senior Officials Committee and its working tables continue discussions on shared priority issues. The Access to Capital Table commissioned research to investigate methods to improve “investor readiness” of SMEs, and to explore ways to enhance capital availability in Atlantic Canada. The Policy Development Table continued discussions on Atlantic Canadian competitiveness and productivity, the changing spatial distribution of the population, and innovation adoption by SMEs.

The population issue remains a key priority for the region, and the Atlantic Population Table continued its work in this regard. The table oversaw the joint development of a suite of initiatives to help increase the number of international immigrants coming to Atlantic Canada, retaining more of them in the region, and attracting expatriate Atlantic Canadians back to the region. This was undertaken in collaboration with the four provinces, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Human Resources and Social Development. The table’s research sub-committee also served to initiate a discussion process between researchers from the Atlantic Metropolis Centre (AMC) and government officials, to explore how the AMC could broaden its research to include more facets of the region.

With the development of an Atlantic Gateway identified as a priority for the region, ACOA assisted in the creation of a federal-provincial senior officials working group to discuss and promote the co‑ordinated development of a strategy. ACOA, Transport Canada, and the Atlantic provinces are members of the group. Since its inaugural meeting in January 2007, the group has acted as a critical information sharing forum, and has begun to develop priorities for the advancement of the file.

The Federal Regional Councils, chaired by ACOA vice-presidents, represent another way ACOA plays a co-ordinating role in the region. The councils are a network of senior federal officials committed to the betterment of program and service delivery to Canadians in all regions of the country. Section IV of this document highlights the activities of these councils in the Atlantic region in 2006-2007.

ACOA’s co-ordination role extends to the international stage and involves a full variety of stakeholders. In 2006-2007, ACOA was involved in a 12-country study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to examine the role of universities and colleges in regional economic development. The Agency was represented on the steering committee, which was chaired by the executive director of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, and included representatives from the four provincial governments, the Atlantic associations representing both colleges and universities, the Leslie Harris Centre for Regional Policy and Development, and Memorial University. ACOA’s relationship with higher-education institutions, particularly through the Atlantic Innovation Fund and Springboard Atlantic Inc., was viewed very positively by the OECD.

Other priority areas advanced through co-ordination activities in 2006-2007 were:

  • Translation: ACOA contributed to the development of priorities for the translation industry in New Brunswick by playing a lead role in bringing stakeholders together, and providing guidance to the provincial trade association (Traduction NB Translation) for the development of an industry capacity building initiative.
  • Ocean technology: ACOA actively engaged Newfoundland and Labrador’s regional minister, senior officials from Industry Canada, Memorial University, the provincial Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development, and industry partners to encourage continued expansion of the ocean technology sector.
  • Aquaculture: ACOA officials worked closely with national and regional representatives of the aquaculture industry to prepare the Canadian Farmed Seafood Summit in St. Andrews, New Brunswick, in June 2006 with the aim of rebuilding confidence in the industry and forging a new path for the future. ACOA officials continued to work in close collaboration with the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans to develop elements for new aquaculture initiatives that would be responsive to opportunities in the region.
  • Energy: ACOA officials encouraged the development of export capacity and markets by evaluating oil and gas areas, identifying potential opportunities for Atlantic Canadian companies, and working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT) on trade missions, for example to Trinidad and Kazakhstan. In particular, ACOA undertook directed policy work that strengthened collaboration with Natural Resources Canada, Industry Canada and DFAIT, and further enhanced the level of engagement with provincial energy departments, utilities, individual companies in the energy sector, and regulatory bodies.