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4.  Section IV–Other Items of Interest

4.1  Provincial Economic Challenges74

 Newfoundland and Labrador

Economic activity in Newfoundland and Labrador strengthened in 2006, with real GDP increasing by 3.1%, following modest growth of 0.3% in 2005. Goods-producing industries rose by 4.5% in 2006, outpacing the 2.0% increase of the services-producing industries. Mining industries accounted for the greatest part of the increase in output. These gains largely reflected the first full year of production at the Voisey’s Bay mine, despite the labour dispute interruption in the third quarter of 2006. Growth in services came mainly from the transportation and warehousing, retail trade and information, and cultural sectors, largely fuelled by consumer spending.

The manufacturing sector was challenged in 2006, due to the closure of the Stephenville newsprint mill and a reduction in world fish prices. Oil extraction peaked following a decade of significant growth. The White Rose offshore oil project experienced solid activity during its first full year of operation; however, the Hibernia and Terra Nova fields experienced production difficulties in 2006.

Both the participation rate (59.2%) and the employment rate (50.4%) were at or near record highs in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2006. The unemployment rate was 14.8%, falling below 15% for the first time in 25 years. Employment totalled 215,700, up 0.7% over last year.

While employment levels in many rural regions are still experiencing weakness due to dependency on resource based industries such as forestry and fishing, the St. John’s metro area has set employment records. In 2006, employment in the St. John’s area was 43% of total provincial employment, with an employment rate of 61.7%, 11.3 points higher than for the province as a whole.75

Preliminary post‑censal estimates indicate the province’s population on July 1, 2006, was 509,677, a year‑over‑year loss of 4,285 people. While out-migration had slowed considerably, levels have recently increased again as the construction phases of a number of major projects have ended, along with challenging conditions in the fishery and forestry sectors, and increased demand for labour, particularly in Alberta. Labour force shortages are now being experienced in a number of sectors, and are expected to worsen significantly in the future.

Prince Edward Island

Following growth of 1.8% in 2005, the Prince Edward Island economy continued its steady performance, with real GDP increasing by 2.2% in 2006. Output in the province’s goods-producing industries rose by 3.3%, led by the construction sector and several non-residential investment projects such as the new federal building in Charlottetown, the Atlantic Veterinary College expansion, wind energy projects and the Master Packaging plant expansion. Economic activity in the services-producing industries increased by 1.9% in 2006 supported by strong performances from the financial and business services sectors.

The agriculture sector performed well in 2006, rebounding strongly after a decline in 2005. Farm cash receipts improved considerably, in line with improved market conditions for potato crops and beef. Landings of seafood, mainly lobsters, increased and contributed to a strong year for the fish processing industry. Affected by the high value of the Canadian dollar and weak U.S. demand, the manufacturing sector posted a lacklustre year.

The province’s main challenges in promoting business growth involve achieving further economic diversification through cluster development in the sector of bio-science, aerospace, information and communications technology, tourism, and wind energy. Progress with industry and the provincial government was made in all of these sectors, while interactions and dialogue in the emerging areas of the Atlantic Gateway and natural resources were initiated by the Agency.

Human capital development, along with more highly developed immigration policy approaches, is a vital lever of economic growth in both the short and long terms. Key learning and research initiatives with both Holland College and the University of Prince Edward Island were further developed throughout the year. The role of private industry in the area of federal-provincial labour development has been further enhanced through the vehicle of the new Association of Sector Councils. The Labour Market Development Agreement (LMDA) board has done work in mandate renewal in terms of improved policy effectiveness and more strategic client delivery.

To take greater advantage of emerging economic opportunities, federal-provincial partnerships in innovation, human capital, trade, tourism and investment have been enhanced in an increasingly targeted and strategic manner. A key dimension of federal-provincial relations was the implementation of infrastructure projects under the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and the gas tax through the Umbrella Governance Framework (UGF), now viewed as a model for infrastructure policy and programming for the Agency.

Gaining momentum over the last three years, the bio-science sector, with strong support and leadership from the Agency, is becoming an important feature of the Prince Edward Island economy. The development of the bio-science sector advances the overall spirit of new economy innovation, while providing supportive linkages to the primary natural resource industries of agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture and forestry in Prince Edward Island.

Nova Scotia

After expanding by 1.6% in 2005, growth in the Nova Scotia economy eased slightly in 2006, with real GDP increasing by 1.3%. Output in the goods-producing sector fell by 2.9%, its third consecutive decline, as the labour dispute at the Stora Enso paper mill negatively affected activity in the forestry, manufacturing and utilities sectors. Also posting a decline was the energy sector, due to lower production of natural gas.

However, on the positive side of the ledger, aerospace, shipbuilding, and semiconductor and other electronic products manufacturing were up strongly in 2006. The construction sector also grew significantly as a result of capital projects in the transportation, mining, and oil and gas extraction industries. The province’s services-producing industries continued to perform well, increasing by 2.8%, led by significant growth in retail trade, financial services, health care and social assistance, and business services. And, finally, transportation rose 3% in 2006, led by the best advance in air transportation in years.

Nova Scotia is in a strong position to capitalize on the emerging opportunity presented by evolving world trade and transportation patterns. With the rise of Asian economies, particularly China and India, and the tendency for the flow of international trade to concentrate through strategically located transportation gateways, the value proposition of an Atlantic Gateway built around Nova Scotia’s key logistics assets becomes ever more compelling, with benefits accruing to the region and to the rest of Canada. The Agency is taking a lead role in facilitating and promoting the development of the Atlantic Gateway.

Increasing the rate of immigrant attraction, integration and retention in Nova Scotia is a particular challenge as population growth rates decline, especially among those of labour force age. It has been forecast that if these trends continue, labour force growth will turn negative by 2011. With this in mind, ACOA is focusing on immigration as a key factor in economic growth in Nova Scotia. Working with the Province of Nova Scotia, non-profit groups and private sector organizations, the Agency is raising awareness of the necessity for long-range human resource planning at the enterprise level, and of the role immigration can play in meeting the province’s labour force requirements, and is also supporting orientation services for immigrant entrepreneurs.

Nova Scotia continues to transition from a goods-producing to a services-producing economy, with repercussions across the province. While employment growth has been positive and sustained in the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM), other regions of the province have experienced job losses associated with the shut-down of older manufacturing and processing operations. The province is seeing an inflow of innovative service sector investment, such as the decision by Research in Motion to locate its technical support operations facility in Nova Scotia.

Raising the capacity and capability for private sector investment in R&D in Nova Scotia is an ongoing challenge, and one that needs to be overcome to attain a more innovative economy. Partnering is key, between the R&D community and those requiring and conducting the commercialization of R&D results. Through its programming and advocacy efforts, ACOA is helping to increase the rate of technology adoption and skills development in the province, crucial factors for Nova Scotia to maximize productivity gains.

Nova Scotia continues to be challenged by a low level of exports as a proportion of provincial GDP – only about 20% of Nova Scotia’s GDP is accounted for by exports. Despite having the most diversified economy of the Atlantic provinces, Nova Scotia’s exports are dominated by raw and semi-processed commodities. In addition to the product concentration, the province’s exports are concentrated by destination, with between 75% and 80% (by value) destined for the United States. This leaves Nova Scotia exporters particularly vulnerable to exchange rate fluctuations against the U.S. dollar, and puts export‑oriented industrial operations, many of which are located in rural areas of the province, at risk of losing their competitive edge as the Canadian dollar appreciates. Nova Scotia is making strides in services sector exports, however, and the recent emergence of Halifax as a regional centre for international financial services bodes well for Nova Scotia’s place on the world stage.

 New Brunswick

Following growth of only 0.3% in 2005, the New Brunswick economy picked up in 2006, registering an increase of 2.9%. Most of the turnaround came from a 4.5% gain among the province’s goods-producing industries, led by the construction sector. Major projects in the energy and transportation sectors, specifically the liquefied natural gas terminal in Saint John, the refurbishment of the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant, and the twinning of the Trans-Canada Highway, fuelled construction activity in 2006.

The manufacturing sector rebounded after a significant decline in 2005, mainly due to the reopening of the pulp mill in Nackawic and increased production at the coated paper mill in Miramichi. However, the recovery in manufacturing was not widespread. A reduction in housing activity in the U.S. led to a significant decrease in production from the province’s sawmills, resulting in the temporary shut down of Fraser Papers’ mills and the indefinite closure of the Weyerhauser mill in Miramichi. Petroleum refining for the year was also hampered by maintenance shutdowns. The services-producing industries rose by 2.2%, driven by growth in retail trade and financial and business services. A recovery in transportation and warehousing activity reflected the gains in construction and manufacturing.

New Brunswick’s labour market participation rate remained at a near record high in 2006. Growth in the province’s working-age population slowed noticeably, however, impacted by continued out-migration. New Brunswick faces the significant challenge of ensuring access to a skilled and productive workforce, particularly in rural communities, where the impact of the out-migration trend is most acute.

ACOA has worked actively with regional economic development partners to respond to challenges and identify new opportunities for economic growth in New Brunswick. For example, in an effort to help reduce the impact of the downturn in the forestry sector, ACOA’s regional office undertook a three-year project with Enterprise Miramichi. This diversification initiative will provide support to 35 SMEs to refocus markets and to expand and generate new employment opportunities.

ACOA has also played a lead role in co-ordinating a concerted effort to grow specific sectors in the province. For example, the Agency was a catalyst in bringing together federal, provincial and industry partners, to establish capacity building and development priorities for the translation industry. These efforts have resulted in a project with Traduction NB Translation to provide leadership for the New Brunswick translation industry through the development of human resources, support for new emerging companies, and the expansion of existing ones, and assistance to the industry in diversifying its product offerings.

4.2  Business Development Program - Repayable Contributions Portfolio

Chart: BDP Repayable Contributions Portfolio From 1995 to March 2007 ($ millions)Since 1995, ACOA has provided interest‑free, unsecured loans to SMEs under the Business Development Program (BDP) to help them start, expand, increase productivity, develop new markets, or undertake other growth‑oriented activities. Commercial assistance is repayable over an average of five to seven years. This chart summarizes the portfolio from inception of the BDP in 1995 until March 31, 2007.

To date, the Agency has collected $373.6 million of repayable contributions, and the cumulative rate of defaulted contracts and write‑offs is 15.3% ($141.0 million of a total $923.2 million), an acceptable performance given the high-risk nature of the lending activities the Agency services.

On the overall repayable portfolio (BDP and inherited programs), in fiscal 2006‑2007 the Agency collected a total of $54.7 million, very close to the amount of $55.2 million forecasted in the 2006‑2007 Report on Plans and Priorities. During 2006‑2007, the Agency was aggressive in cleaning up its defaulted loans portfolio, and consequently wrote off $17.6 million in loans where the Agency had no further or possible means of collecting money.

Risk Mix


Risk Rating

Portion of Portfolio

Principal Outstanding
($ millions)

1  Low

5%

15.2

2  Low - medium

22%

60.8

3  Medium

44%

125.5

4  Medium - high

21%

59.5

5  High

8%

21.3

Not yet rated

0%

0.0

Total

100%

282.3


All commercial clients are risk‑rated based on a five‑tier grading system. Accounts are reviewed regularly, and the level and frequency of monitoring is adjusted in accordance with the risk rating. The table at right illustrates the risk mix of the BDP repayable portfolio as of March 31, 2007 (excluding conditionally repayable accounts where conditions have not yet been met).

More information on repayable contributions may be found on ACOA’s website at
http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/financial/repayable/index.shtml.

4.3  Government Themes and Management Issues

4.3.1  Regional Federal Councils

Regional Federal Councils are a network of senior officials committed to the betterment of program and service delivery to Canadians in all regions of the country. Through these councils, the Agency works with key federal departments in each region/province to maintain effective linkages and partnerships that co‑ordinate the departments’ actions in those regions. ACOA vice‑presidents chair and play a key co-ordinating role in Atlantic Canada’s federal councils. ACOA’s senior vice‑president occupies the national chair of the federal councils.

The mandate of the Regional Federal Councils includes the integration of improved service delivery, two‑way communication with central agencies on regional perspectives and federal initiatives, and co‑operation with other jurisdictions, including provincial governments. Government priorities such as human resources renewal, official languages, Aboriginal dialogue, homelessness, service delivery modernization, innovation, policy and increased capacity in regional co‑ordination constitute the essence of the councils’ business, while placing increased emphasis on the Federal Accountability Act.

Some of the specific regional initiatives undertaken in 2006-2007 are outlined below.

New Brunswick

The New Brunswick Federal Council continued to ensure the reflection of regional views in national policies and programs, which allows the Government of Canada to have an increased awareness of regional issues specific to New Brunswick. In 2006‑2007, the council welcomed senior officials from Treasury Board Secretariat, the Canada Public Service Agency, as well as the Commissioner of Official Languages to its meetings, thereby allowing the council to engage and inform national decision makers. The council also engaged with other levels of government and stakeholders to provide timely and pertinent information and advice in order to ensure that federal programs and policies were better understood by regional stakeholders. Various council committees helped such engagement, namely the Aboriginal Dialogue Committee, the Service Delivery Modernization Committee, the Human Resources Committee, and the Communications Council.

Significant work was also undertaken in 2006-2007 to ensure development activities regarding succession planning, knowledge transfer, and accountability in the workplace. The council also promoted these objectives during National Public Service Week (NPSW) by awarding a first Public Service Award of Excellence to four federal employees and one federal team, all of whom demonstrated excellence in the achievement of results for Canadians. The theme for the 2006 NPSW was “Our People, Our Diversity and Our Future.”

Throughout the fiscal year, work continued with regard to the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA). A joint symposium took place with senior departmental executives in the New Brunswick region to discuss and exchange views on the implementation of the PSMA. The council also encouraged shared learning via the sharing of best practices, the sharing of tools and the promotion of excellence and teamwork in the workplace, which also helped move the Public Service Renewal agenda forward in areas of corporate management by supporting the various committees and ensuring their focus was on the government’s priorities. For example, the Human Resources Committee focused on the recruitment of new public servants and on their retention, as well as on succession planning.

The council actively supported its Official Languages Committee throughout the year. Presentations were made to the community of managers on the Commissioner of Official Language’s (COL) findings on language of work. An Official Languages Week was successfully undertaken, culminating in a full-day session addressing challenges and opportunities for employees working in New Brunswick, including direct dialogue between the COL and 130 participants. An Atlantic Symposium was also developed for all Atlantic provinces on Part VII of the Official Languages Act. Close to 40 New Brunswick federal employees participated in the symposium. A survey on language training was also developed by the council and forwarded to all federal departments in the province, allowing them to develop horizontal strategies in partnership with the Public Service Language School to better meet the needs of federal employees and departments.

Newfoundland and Labrador

The Newfoundland and Labrador Federal Council continued to deliver a number of interdepartmental programs around learning and development, the main focus being on French language training. In addition, a study of French language training needs was initiated in 2006‑2007 and is expected to be completed in 2007‑2008.

The council arranged a number of interdepartmental learning events focusing on connecting managers and future leaders. The council undertook a large number of interdepartmental events during National Public Service Week, both in St. John’s and in rural areas of the province. The council also undertook an initiative to determine impediments and opportunities for public service renewal in Newfoundland and Labrador, with the information being used as part of a submission by the National Council Chairs Committee to the Deputy Advisory Committee on Public Service Renewal.

The council continued to partner with the Canada School of Public Service to deliver a number of training and learning programs. The council partnered with the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada (PSHRMAC) in piloting the Regional Corporate Leadership Development program.

Prince Edward Island

In 2006‑2007, the Prince Edward Island Federal Council continued to support four priorities: human resources, official languages, communications, and rural community development. In support of the Public Service Modernization Act (PSMA) and the new learning policy and directive, the council worked closely with the Canada School of Public Service to ensure that mandatory training was offered in the province, including the courses Essentials of Managing in the Public Service, Integrated Business and HR Planning, and Managing Government Information throughout its Life Cycle.

In December 2006, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the council, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC), to facilitate the establishment of a shared learning centre in Charlottetown. This centre will open in November 2007. A shared learning concept was piloted in 2006‑2007 using VAC’s existing learning facility, and 141 courses were offered to all public servants, with over 1,500 participants (429 of whom worked in departments other than VAC).

The Prince Edward Island Managers Network supported the learning needs of public servants in the province. Learning opportunities on the following topics were offered: due diligence, spirituality in the workplace, emotional intelligence and wellness, along with the annual managers’ forum “Transitions”.

Official languages continued to be a priority, and the bilingual network grew to over 200 participants to date; French Toastmasters clubs provides an opportunity for maintaining language capacity. This year, an Atlantic symposium on Part VII of the Official Languages Act was hosted by the council. It was very successful in helping to create awareness of responsibilities and highlighting areas were public servants can work collaboratively.

Nova Scotia

In 2006-2007, the Nova Scotia Federal Council was very active along a number of lines, including human resource management, official languages, service delivery, security/emergency preparedness, and policy. Under human resource management, the council sponsored several events and pilot projects, including a labour relations symposium titled Building a Better Workplace through Labour Management Collaboration, an academic forum entitled Young Professionals: Creating the New Public Sector Workplace, and a regional corporate development pilot project. In support of official languages, the council’s activities included offering French language training for federal and provincial employees, organizing and participating in the Atlantic symposium on Part VII of the Official Languages Act, and organizing a workshop for Official Languages Committee members.

Service delivery efforts are ongoing, with the implementation of Service Canada suite of offerings. As well, the council sponsored a one‑day learning and networking event for managers, entitled Way Forward on the Service Transformation Agenda. The council also supported activities related to Security/Emergency Preparedness for Nova Scotia, including hosting a one‑day workshop entitled Emergency Table Top Exercises, and other emergency preparedness exercises.

Federal‑provincial co‑ordination was high on the list of priorities in 2006-2007, as demonstrated by the new co‑chairs’ reconfirmation of the priorities agreed to the previous year (i.e. Atlantic Gateway, population strategy, environmental sustainability and commercialization). Each of these priorities has federal and provincial co‑leads.

Finally, in support of enhancing its role, the council is a member of the national Communications 2010 working group on learning. The council co‑ordinated participation in several professional development sessions using video conferencing and webcasting technology, and produced a federal directory of programs and services for federal and provincial elected representatives.

4.3.2  Official Languages Act, Section 41

Text Box: Section 41 of the Official Languages Act: sets out the commitment of all federal departments and agencies to enhance the vitality of official-language minority communities, as well as fostering the full recognition and use of both English and French in Canadian society.ACOA continued its efforts to enhance the vitality of Atlantic Canada’s French linguistic community, and to support and assist its development. In this respect, ACOA collaborated with several Acadian and Francophone organizations across the region whose activities encompass social, political, commercial and economic interests. Through its normal programming, ACOA supported projects that led to the development of official language minority communities to the order of $17.4 million, representing a total of 77 projects throughout Atlantic Canada.76 Also, a strong working partnership was formed with the Economic Development and Employability Network (Rseau de Dveloppement conomique et d’employabilit) of the Atlantic provinces. Through this partnership, an action plan was developed and is being implemented collaboratively.

The Agency continued to manage seven e‑learning projects that were the result of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Industry Canada and ACOA that enabled post‑secondary Francophone educational institutions to apply for funding related to French content development. This MOU is valued at $2 million.77 Under this same MOU, an internship component was introduced in 2006‑2007, where a number of Francophone economic development organizations benefited from a total of $180,000,78 to enable the hiring of a youth intern to work within official language minority communities.

ACOA maintained its active participation on the National Committee of Economic Development and Employability, and on the national committee of departmental co‑ordinators responsible for the implementation of Section 41 of the Official Languages Act. Internally, an integrated official languages committee was established, combining responsibilities for parts IV, V, VI and Section 41 of the Act. This committee meets regularly to discuss issues related to all parts of the Act, thus creating an Agency‑wide awareness of the complete official languages file.

ACOA’s regional offices play an indispensable role in implementing Section 41 of the Act via a regional co‑ordinator. Numerous projects are supported by the Agency, which enhances the vitality of official language minority communities.

For example, in New Brunswick, a contribution of $32,400 was allocated to L’Association des conchyliculteurs professionnels du Nouveau‑Brunswick to elaborate a strategic plan that will guide the industry’s development. The goals of this initiative are to develop a sustainable and ecological sector in order to compete on the global market, increase production and leadership capacity, increase sales and employment, and increase research and development investments. The adoption of the suspension method for oyster‑growing operations enabled a shorter growth cycle, and the industry experienced significant growth in New Brunswick. In most cases, entrepreneurs involved in this sector are former lobster and crab fishermen seeking to diversify their activities. The oyster‑growing industry is a strategic sector in New Brunswick and one in which direct and indirect economic benefits bring new hope to the Francophone regions.

In Prince Edward Island, La Socit de dveloppement de la Baie acadienne, in partnership with Rseau de Dveloppement conomique et d’employabilit le-du-Prince-douard, have developed and now oversee the provincial project called PERC. The PERC program (inspired by the Quebec program Place aux jeunes) gives young Francophone islanders who are studying outside the province an opportunity to return home to have a job and a mentorship experience in their field of study. These youths are given a chance to establish important contacts within their respective sectors and, eventually, job opportunities in their home province. The principal objective of the program is to make the province’s Acadian and Francophone youths aware of their region’s assets, economic and cultural possibilities, and to offer them an opportunity to obtain work experience in their field of study and in their language of choice.

In Nova Scotia, a contribution of $250,000 was allocated to the Conseil de dveloppement conomique de la Nouvelle‑cosse (CDN) to assist with the implementation of its 2006‑2007 business plan. The CDN was established in February 1999, with the objective of pursuing economic development activities for Nova Scotia’s Francophone and Acadian community. As Nova Scotia’s only pan‑provincial Francophone economic development organization, the CDN provides leadership to Nova Scotia's Acadian and Francophone community by advocating on behalf of and representing the interests of Acadians, and by enhancing the vitality of minority language communities.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Long Range Regional Economic Development Board received assistance in 2006-2007 to develop and implement bilingual community economic development initiatives. This project is a co‑operative initiative of three partners: the Long Range Community Business Development Corporation, l’Association rgionale de la cte ouest, and the board. This collaborative process began with the hiring process for a bilingual liaison officer, and continues with the development of a shared work plan and the establishment of a management committee to oversee the activities of the officer for a period of two years. Initiatives arising from the work plan are incremental economic development activities over and above the regular activities of the three partners, and a focus on service improvements for the Francophone communities of the Port-au-Port Peninsula.

4.4  Results-based Management

Results‑based management (RBM) is a government‑wide approach to improving program and management effectiveness and accountability, and is oriented toward achieving results. ACOA has made reporting, accountability, transparency and protecting the public interest the cornerstones of its RBM approach.

During the year, the Agency continued to invest in the development and implementation of its Management, Resources and Results Structure (MRRS), a framework to integrate financial and non‑financial information in a way that links the results achieved to the resources used. The Agency is engaged in providing evidence‑based information contained in performance measurement systems, audits, evaluations and reviews to external stakeholders such as central agency officials, parliamentarians and the general public. This performance report is a good example of the way the Agency makes information available in a format that facilitates its analysis – that is, by grouping information along the Program Activity Architecture. It is thus possible to understand what the Agency wants to achieve (outcomes), the activities and results achieved, and the resources used (financial resources and full‑time employees). The same information also serves ACOA managers in making strategic and operational decisions on improving the overall effectiveness of the Agency’s programming, and in being accountable for results. In 2006‑2007, ACOA strengthened the use of performance information in reviewing the different indicators to ensure they are comprehensive in terms of covering the objectives of the Agency’s outcomes. The Agency enhanced the use of performance information for planning in order to create a robust framework for performance measurement and reporting.

ACOA promoted the RBM by providing training on its Management, Resources and Results Structure to more than 350 employees. During this training, employees were presented with new tools to ensure that projects, supported through service delivery, contribute to the strategic outcomes of the Agency. The Agency used this opportunity to raise awareness of the importance and impact of accountability and its link to RBM and reporting.

ACOA’s Evaluation unit brings value to the Agency by providing independent, objective and evidence‑based information on the results of ACOA’s activities. The Agency now publishes its Management Responses and Management Action Plans, which represent engagements upon the recommendations from audit and evaluations, on its website.79 The Agency also allocated more resources to track the implementation of management action plans, and is now in the position where all recommendations from previous evaluations and audits have been implemented. A list of completed audits and evaluations in 2006‑2007 appears in Section III, Table 11 Response to Parliamentary Committees, Audits and Evaluations.

The Agency’s Review Committee was replaced in 2006-2007 by the Performance and Evaluation Committee, a subcommittee of the Executive Committee for the Agency. This new committee is chaired by the vice-president, finance and corporate services, and includes directors-general from ACOA head office and its regional offices. The role of the committee is to provide leadership to optimize the impact of managing for results by:

  • supporting the work of the Agency’s performance management function in meeting the information needs of the president, Executive Committee, central agencies and Parliament for program performance, reporting, accountability and expenditure management; and
  • ensuring the systematic use of performance management findings for informed management decision-making.

4.5  Corporate Services

Efficiently and effectively managed resources and administrative systems and services to support management decision making, accountability and operational control.


Financial Resources ($ millions)

 

Human Resources (Full-time Equivalents)

Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending

 

Planned

Actual

Difference

24.3

27.8

31.2

 

210

249

(39)


The spending figures for Corporate Services (indicated above) are also incorporated within the planned spending figures for all program activities in Sections I through III of this report, on a pro‑rated basis.

For performance on ACOA’s key management initiatives in 2006-2007, refer to section 1.4.4 Management Performance. Other Corporate Services plans and results are presented in the following table.


Corporate Planning and Performance Management

Result:

  • Continue implementation of an integrated planning process for the Agency.
  • A well-established corporate planning process in place, which includes fully costed regional and branch operational plans, along with integrated human resources requirements.
  • Promote and co‑ordinate modern business management practices within the Agency as outlined in the Management Accountability Framework.
  • Agency placed in the top 25% across government in the round IV Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessment, and was commended for its strong performance on values and ethics, leadership, human resources, information technology and official languages.80
  • Building on the results of assessment, three “champion files” have been created to address management priority areas: Values and Ethics, Public Service Renewal (with Employment Equity and Learning and Development component), and Official Languages. These were chosen because they require strong leadership at the senior executive level to ensure the organization builds on its past successes and continues to demonstrate strong results in these important areas.
  • Strengthen linkages among planning, performance measurement, evaluation, policy and programming.
  • Instituted an Agency‑wide integrated planning process built around its Program Architecture Activity (PAA). Advances in implementing this process have resulted in improved integration of financial and non‑financial performance information for management decision making. The PAA has also been strengthened over the course of 2006‑2007 by building sound program logic models and performance information for each of the PAA elements.

Communications

Result:

  • Work with clients and partners to promote Atlantic Canada as an increasingly innovative, export-oriented and entrepreneurial place: promotion achieved through speaking opportunities, testimonials and partner profiles, support to export and investment activities, and local outreach efforts.
  • 2006-2007 efforts included:
    - launch of new website and advertising campaign aimed at attracting foreign direct investment to Atlantic Canada;
    - support to various trade missions, including Team Canada Atlantic missions to the U.S. and a women exporters mission to Boston;
    - The Art of Success - a networking event to highlight the power of partnerships in contributing to New Brunswick’s long-term economic successes;
    - promotion of the renewed Atlantic Innovation Fund and announcement of projects under the fund.
  • Improve the awareness and understanding of the Agency’s role in enterprise and community development, as well as its programs and services and how they can be accessed.
  • Activities in support of awareness and understanding of the Agency’s role included:
    - advertising campaign (Services for Business: Promoting Entrepreneurship) to encourage entrepreneurs and small business people to access services and information available through Canada Business;
    - increasing public awareness of the Agency’s projects funded under the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and the Innovative Communities Fund through public announcement events, news releases and media interviews;
    - support to Advancing Communities Conference, a pan-Atlantic conference aimed at helping economic development groups explore ways to identify and pursue local development goals;
    - holding public information sessions on the Agency’s programs and services and providing support to the president’s outreach activities; and
    - enhancements to ACOA’s public website.
  • Support the Agency’s key policy and advocacy files through strategic communications activities.
  • Advice and support to key policy‑related files such as the Atlantic Gateway, the Atlantic population strategy, and the renewable resources sector;
  • Co‑ordination of communications activities with federal and provincial government partners and stakeholders;
  • Support to the public release of policy research initiatives such as the transportation system in Atlantic Canada and an inventory of resources on immigration and diversity.

 

Finance and Administration

Result:

  • The Agency focused in 2006-2007 on achieving excellence in the stewardship of public funds. Three priority areas, namely management performance, expenditure management, and financial management and control, were strengthened by focusing on the following:
  • Maintaining and monitoring the government‑wide management and analysis systems, including the management resources and results structure and the expenditure management information system.
  • Agency expenditures were effectively managed and reported within the structure specified under the management resources and results structure policy. Information requirements for the expenditure management information system were met.

 

 

Corporate Systems (Information Management and Information Technology)

 

Result:

  • Through the use of Web technology and service transformation, continue to increase the availability of corporate information, integrate program management and finance reporting systems, and prepare key service systems for online delivery.
  • See details below.
  • Integrate the work of the Treasury Board Secretariat’s Business Transformation Enablement Program into the enterprise architecture of the Agency. Work in close collaboration with PWGSC and other central agencies to implement strategic new initiatives like the common administrative services.
  • ACOA is working closely with Library and Archives Canada on the Business Activity Structure Classification System project in an effort to define and document a government‑wide classification process, especially in regard to electronic records management.

Internet
The Agency is leading the way in moving the ACOA website to a more dynamic platform. The website provides a variety of users with easy access to online information (users include ACOA clients, partners, researchers and academics), and offers a transactional tool (ACOA Direct), a variety of information documents, studies, and numerous other required tools in an environment where sharing information is an essential part of doing business.

Modernization of Technology Platform
A major part of the fiscal year’s effort continued to go toward upgrading the Agency’s servers to the MS Server 2007. The migration to the new platform will allow for an information management strategy fully compliant with Treasury Board, and a greater collaboration within ACOA.

Business Transformation
Information management has become the driving force for all of ACOA’s IT projects. For example, all new internal business application solutions are thoroughly discussed to ensure strong accountability, governance and integrity of the information. It requires a close co‑operation within the Agency to establish a strong business architecture for all processes. ACOA has implemented major improvements in this area and is now in a position to offer tools supported by a strong business architecture.

ECBC Technical Support
ACOA has signed a memorandum of understanding to provide technical support to Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, providing an opportunity for sharing the Agency’s best practices.

 

Internal Audit

Result:

  • Provide information as an aid to decision making and strategic management and, ultimately, to facilitate program improvement and organizational learning through fair, reliable, valid and understandable internal audits. Internal audit achieves this by bringing a systematic, disciplined approach to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and governance processes. It also provides conclusions regarding the Agency’s compliance with established government regulations and rules.
  • Target met. During 2006-2007, the implementation of the federal government’s new Policy on Internal Audit (2006) began. The target for completion is 2009. The policy aims to increase the professionalism of the internal audit function and build a comprehensive government‑wide approach to internal auditing that reflects leading‑edge public and private sector practices. Information on ACOA’s audits and reviews may be found on the Agency’s website at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/audit.shtml.

 

Human Resources

Result:

  • Modernize the human resources function by implementing, co‑ordinating and monitoring all the new human resource legislation and policies.
  • Effective implementation of a complete and updated staffing system, in line with central agency legislation and policy direction.
  • Develop and implement a reporting and monitoring framework for staffing.
  • Reporting is done on a regular basis, in response to timeframes required by central agencies
  • Increase overall training for Agency managers, with emphasis on procurement, information management, human resources and finance.
  • 100% of ACOA’s strategic investment framework training was achieved.
  • Implement an active audit, monitoring and reporting system for position classifications.
  • Audit completed for the period of April 1, 2006 to January 31, 2007, included a review of processes and procedures, as well as a review of delegated regional staffing files. See Table 11 in Section 3.2.13.

 



Footnotes

1. Refer to Section III – Supplementary Information, Table 1 Departmental Planned Spending and Full-time Equivalents and subsequent financial tables for definitions and an explanation of variances between these three categories (planned spending, total authorities, and actual spending).

2. For more information on ACOA’s activities and services, visit the Agency’s website at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/en/index.asp.

3. The State of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Atlantic Canada 2005, Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (2005).

4. Statistical data presented in this section are from the following sources:
  • Statistics Canada – Gross Domestic Product, Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts Review, #13-016-XIE (2007)
  • Statistics Canada – Labour Market, Labour Force Historical Review, #71F0004XCB (2007)
  • Statistics Canada – Population, Quarterly Demographic Estimates, #91-002-XIE
  • Industry Canada – Exports, Trade Data Online, Strategis (2007)

5. To view Canada’s Performance 2006 visit http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/report/govrev/06/cp-rc_e.asp

6. Provincial Outlook, The Conference Board of Canada (winter 2007).

7. Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP) file, Statistics Canada (2006).

8. Ibid.

9. Total adjustments of $56 million were made to planned spending during the 2006-2007 fiscal year to reduce contribution funding under this program activity. Corresponding increases occurred to the Community Economic Development program activity to reflect the implementation of the new Innovative Communities Fund and the increased demands in other programs.

10. Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP) file, Statistics Canada (2006).

11. This result includes the Atlantic Innovation Fund’s strategic initiative Project Blomidon, with Michelin North America (Canada) Inc., which leveraged over $81 million in private sector investment toward total project costs exceeding $91 million.

12. A meaningful partnership, as defined in ACOA’s guidelines, is one involving a participant who is actively involved in the project, has a direct and material influence on the project’s direction, and without whose involvement the project could be in jeopardy.

13. 2006-2007 Summary of AIF Projects, Atlantic Innovation Fund Secretariat, ACOA (spring 2007).

14. 2006-2007 AIF Project Partnerships, Atlantic Innovation Fund Secretariat, ACOA (spring 2007).

15. 2006-2007 Summary of AIF Projects, Atlantic Innovation Fund Secretariat, ACOA (spring 2007).

16. 2006-2007 AIF Project Partnerships, Atlantic Innovation Fund Secretariat, ACOA (spring 2007).

17. 2006-2007 Summary of BDP Innovation Projects, ACOA (spring 2007).

18. 2006-2007 BDP Innovation Project Partnerships, ACOA (spring 2007).

19. 2006-2007 Summary of PBSI Projects, ACOA (spring 2007).

20. 2006-2007 Summary of Innovation Awareness Activities, ACOA (spring 2007).

21. Performance Management Network Inc., Review of Springboard Commercialization Network (spring 2007).

22. 2006-2007 Roll-up of Entrepreneurs’ Forum Activities, NS, NL and PEI Final Reports, Entrepreneurs’ Forum (spring 2007).

23. 2006-2007 Roll-up of ProfitLearn NB and ProfitLearn PEI Activities (spring 2007).

24. Final Report (May 1, 2006 to April 31, 2007), Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Community Business Development Corporations.

25. 2006-2007 Roll-up of Youth Entrepreneurship Development Activities in New Brunswick, reported by 13 YEDI funding recipients.

26. Results from Request for Information for Benefits Review: Project Success Indicator “Attitudes towards Entrepreneurship as a Career.” April 2003 to April 2006. (Survey description: data gathered from evaluation reports completed by students sponsored by Cape Breton University’s Student Employment and Entrepreneurial Centre).

27. Final Activity Report, 2006-2007, Acadia Centre for Social and Business Entrepreneurship, (spring 2007). [Survey description: participants of ACSBE business development skills programming activities – 330 in counselling, 176 in business consulting, 352 students in business skills development activity and 387 community outreach participants – were queried as to the impact of the activities in which they participated, either at the time of the intervention or shortly thereafter, orally (in person/telephone) or in writing, with 100% of respondents indicating the intervention enhanced their skills.]

28. 2006-2007 Roll-up of Business Counselling and Community Outreach Activity, various WBI funding recipients and ECBC (spring 2007).

29. 2006-2007, Roll-up of Business Skills Development Activities for Women Business Owners, various WBI funding recipients (spring 2007).

30. Report on Trade Activities, ACOA commercial and non-commercial clients. ATIP/BDP/IBDA (2006-2007). This report includes results from the following surveys:

  • Business Development Program First-time Exporters Survey, 2007. (Survey description: telephone survey to count the number of BDP commercial clients who are first-time exporters, potential exporters or continuing exporters; includes all BDP commercial clients tagged as first-time exporters; response rate of 84%.)

  • Survey of IBDA Projects, September 2006, January 2007. (Survey description: telephone and mail survey to companies that participated in IBDA-funded projects and that have begun exporting as a result of the assistance; survey also identified current exporters that have increased sales to existing markets and/or expanded sales to new markets; response rate of 73%.)

  • Team Canada Atlantic May 2006 and October 2006 Trade Mission Exit Studies. (Survey description: telephone survey of all participating companies from the two missions, response rate of 89%, TCA; May 2006 Florida Trade Mission Exit Study, Corporate Research Associates Inc., September 2006; October 2006 Florida Trade Mission Exit Study, Corporate Research Associates Inc., March 2007.

  • ACOA Trade Activity report, 2006-2007

31. SMEs that increased their export-readiness through increased export knowledge acquired at outreach events, training and skills development, trade missions, international technology partnering activities or technology missions.

32. Increased export-readiness initiatives surpassed targeted results due to increased partnering and leveraging.

33. May 2006 Florida Trade Mission Exit Study, Corporate Research Associates Inc. (September 2006); October 2006 Florida Trade Mission Exit Study, Corporate Research Associates Inc. (March 2007). It should be noted that one successful mission participant is projecting $35 million in sales from the Florida Tier 2 mission, which exceeded planned results and a significant increase in projected sales.

34. Survey of IBDA Projects; September 2006, January 2007.

35. Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Competing in the Global Economy: Atlantic Canada’s Recent Export Performance and Trade Policy Issues (2007).

36. Results variances are due to increased internal resources placed on the Investment program sub‑activity.

37. Suspect – a member of the target group to which your marketing activities are focused. Lead – one step up the qualification ladder, a lead is a qualified response. Often, a lead has involved some human interaction. Prospect – someone interested in a particular solution that has been identified.

38. Investment Partnership Canada, Role of Foreign Direct Investment in Canada. Accessed online at http://www.greatertoronto.org/documents/ROLEofForeignDirectInvestmentinCanada.pdf on July 4, 2007.

39. Statistics Canada, Foreign and Domestic Investment in Canada: 2004-2006 (2007).

40. Atlantic Provinces Economic Council, Attracting the Big Bucks: Foreign Investment in Atlantic Canada (2005).

41. ACOA Trade and Investment Project Summary, 2006-2007, ACOA internal database (QAccess).

42. Statistics Canada Foreign and Domestic Investment in Canada: 2004-2006 (2007); Statistics Canada Foreign and Domestic Investment in Canada: February 2005 (2005).

43. Investment Activity Report, 2006-2007.

44. Annual Report on leads for 2006-2007, internal ACOA document.

45. Atlantic provinces tourism departments: year‑end tourism reports.

46. Longitudinal Employment Analysis Program (LEAP) file, Statistics Canada (2006).

47. The Agency’s focus is on small and medium-sized enterprises, with 77% of ACOA‑assisted firms categorized as small (fewer than 20 employees).

48. Year One Evaluation of the 2006‑2009 Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership, MacKellar Cunningham & Associates (February 2007).

49. 2006 Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership Conversion Study, U.S. Committee: Atlantic Canada Partnership (2006).

50. Registrations – Bouctouche Sustainable Tourism Communities: http://www.umoncton.ca/ecobouctouche/en/index.html.

51. Gros Morne Institute for Sustainable Tourism (GMIST). Four “Edge of the Wedge” courses were delivered in 2006‑2007, with 85 participants total (72 from private enterprises, 13 from federal and provincial governments).

52. Missions for the Competitiveness Through Best Practices during 2006‑2007 included, for example, quality attraction development, multi-seasonal destinations, nature interpretation, and marine and seacoast destinations.

53. Operating costs and human resources utilization for the Canada Business service centres were higher than forecasted in 2006-2007.

54. Canada Business Network Client Satisfaction Survey 2007. POR Number 256-07. Total of 719 clients surveyed using a mix of phone and Internet. Results accurate within +/- 3.6%, 19 times out of 20. 

55. Ibid.

56. Results from CBDC / Seed Capital Atlantic Report (March 31), 2007.

57. Ibid.

58. Increases in the Community Economic Development program activity reflect an additional $69 million in resources required for the delivery of four programs, but mainly for the new Innovative Communities Fund. This increase results in additional human resource utilization (75 FTEs).

59. Results from CBDC Atlantic Report (March 31), 2007.

60. Results from CBDC / Seed Capital Atlantic Report (March 31), 2007.

61. Regional internal REDO tracking systems (June 2007).

62. This $11.6 million is included in the $58 million total funding for ICF in 2006‑2007.

63. Target corrected from error in ACOA's 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities; target exceeded due to accelerated activity from higher-than-anticipated demand.

64. Advantage Canada: Building a Strong Economy for Canadians, Department of Finance Canada, Ottawa, Ontario (2006). Available online at http://www.fin.gc.ca/ec2006/pdf/plane.pdf.

65. Summative Evaluation of the Atlantic Policy Research Initiative, Goss Gilroy Inc. (April 2005).

66. The Economic Impact of Universities in the Atlantic Provinces, for the Association of Atlantic Universities, Gardner Pinfold Consulting Economists Ltd. (February 2006). Available online at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/reports/eiuap.pdf.

67. The Ocean Technology Sector in Atlantic Canada, Volume 1: Profile and Impact (February 2006), Volume 2: Potential Public Sector Demand (May 2006), submitted to the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency by ACZISC Secretariat (Halifax) and Canmac Economics Ltd (Lower Sackville), Nova Scotia, (2006). Available online at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/ocean_tech.shtml.

68. The Changing Global Economy: The Implications and Opportunities for Transportation in Atlantic Canada, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (November 2006). Available online at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/reports/sectorFocussed/globalEconomy.pdf.

69. Global Markets for Ocean Observation Systems, Douglas‑Westwood Limited, Ocean Science and Technology Partnership (November 2006). Available online at http://www.ostp-psto.ca/Files/P382_OOS_Final_Report_2006.pdf.

70. The Changing Global Economy: The Implications and Opportunities for Transportation in Atlantic Canada, Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (November 2006). Available online at http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/reports/sectorFocussed/globalEconomy.pdf.

71. Embracing the Future: The Atlantic Gateway and Canada’s Trade Corridor, Charles McMillan for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (November 2006). Available online at http://www.acoa.ca/e/library/reports/sectorFocussed/embracingFuture.pdf.

72. The Budget Plan 2007: Aspire to a stronger, safer, better Canada, tabled on March 19, 2007, Department of Finance Canada on pp.199-200 “World-Class Excellence for Research Leadership – Centre of Excellence in Commercialization and Research”.

73. Non-respendable revenue consists of all non-tax revenue that will be credited to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.

74. Statistical data presented in this section are from the following sources:

  • Statistics Canada – Gross Domestic Product, Provincial and Territorial Economic Accounts Review, #13-016-XIE (2007)
  • Statistics Canada – Labour Market, Labour Force Historical Review, #71F0004XCB (2007)
  • Statistics Canada – Population, Quarterly Demographic Estimates, #91-002-XIE
  • Industry Canada – Exports, Trade Data Online, Strategis (2007)

75. Calculated using data from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey.

76. QAccess (ACOA internal database) internal report for Francophone projects from April 1, 2006, to March 31, 2007 (BDP Projects 2006‑2007).

77. QAccess (ACOA internal database) report (e‑learning projects) to confirm contribution amounts and manual compilation and updates of projects since inception upon approval of project.

78. Manual compilation following approval of projects per region. The information was compiled between the regional Section 41 co‑ordinator and the national co‑ordinator at ACOA head office; the contribution amount was confirmed through QAccess (ACOA internal database) by reviewing each project. (Stages-internships – April 2007).

79. http://www.acoa-apeca.gc.ca/e/library/audit.shtml

80. Treasury Board of Canada and the Public Service Human Resources Management Agency of Canada: Management Accountability Framework, Round IV Assessment (May 2007).