2019-20 Departmental Plan
Details on transfer payment programs of $5 million or more

Atlantic Innovation Fund - Voted

Start date: May 10, 2001

End date: Ongoing

Type of transfer payment: Contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2009-10

Link to department’s Program Inventory: Research and Development, and Commercialization; Innovation Ecosystem

Description: The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) makes strategic investments in research and development (R&D) initiatives in the area of natural and applied sciences, as well as in social sciences, humanities, and arts and culture. Projects are expected to result in the successful adaptation or development as well as the commercialization of technology-based products, processes or services.

Contributions to non-profit organizations are non-repayable. Contributions to for-profit businesses to fund R&D projects that involve the commercialization of a product, process, technology or service are repayable, either conditionally or unconditionally.

Expected results:

Fiscal year of the last completed evaluation: 2014-15

Decision following the results of the last evaluation: Continuation

Fiscal year of planned completion of the next evaluation: Evaluation of ACOA’s Research and Development, and Commercialization Programming, 2019-20

General targeted recipient groups:

Initiatives to engage applicants and recipients:

ACOA engages proponents and recipients on a regular basis, either one-on-one or via industry associations. The communication strategy also includes the use of social media to inform and engage applicants and recipients.

Type of transfer payment 2018-19 Forecast spending 2019-20 Planned spending 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending
Total grants 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 34,613,800 40,000,000 40,000,000 40,000,000
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0
Total program 34,613,800 40,000,000 40,000,000 40,000,000

Business Development Program – Voted

Start date: July 25, 1995

End date: Ongoing

Type of transfer payment: Grant and contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2010-11

Link to department’s Program Inventory: Inclusive Communities; Diversified Communities; Research and Development, and Commercialization; Innovation Ecosystem; Business Growth; Trade and Investment; Policy Research and Engagement

Description: Through the Business Development Program (BDP), ACOA works to create opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) become more competitive, innovative and productive. In addition, the Agency works with communities to develop and diversify local economies. It also champions the strengths of the region, in partnership with Atlantic Canadians.

Budget 2018 introduced a new innovation program for ACOA: the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program (REGI Program). All new innovation-related projects that were historically funded through the BDP are now to be funded through the REGI Program, except to implement special initiatives as Cabinet direction, such as the Linguistic Duality Economic Development Initiative (EDI) and the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement (ATIGA).

The objectives of the BDP are to:

In general, contributions to for-profit businesses are repayable, either conditionally or unconditionally. Under some of the BDP’s elements, non-repayable contributions to for-profit businesses may be permitted.

Contributions to non-profit organizations are generally non-repayable, but are conditionally repayable if a project results in what would normally be considered a commercial activity.

Expected results:

Improve growth and competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian SMEs through:

Provide for dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada with increased economic and business activity through:

Provide for policies and programs that strengthen Atlantic Canada’s economy. This is done through well-informed policy decisions reflecting opportunities and challenges of the Atlantic region’s economy, while considering enterprise and community development potential.

Fiscal year of last completed evaluation: Collectively, the evaluations listed below represent 100% coverage of the BDP.

Decision following the results of last evaluation: Continuation

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation:

General targeted recipient groups:

Initiatives to engage applicants and recipients: ACOA’s transfer payment programs (including the BDP) are designed, delivered and managed in such a way that they remain citizen and client-focused, are relevant to the applicants’ and recipients’ needs, and achieve the expected results for which they are designed. Engaging key stakeholders in discussions for the creation or review of ACOA’s programming is part of the Agency’s operations. To ensure the continued relevance of programming, the Agency solicits feedback from clients and stakeholders on an ongoing basis, either through information sharing or consultations and collaborations.

Additionally, BDP information is continuously shared with applicants and recipients through ACOA’s website and outreach events in communities across Atlantic Canada.

Type of transfer payment 2018-19 Forecast spending 2019-20 Planned spending 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending
Total grants 506,600 2,000,000 2,000,000 2,000,000
Total contributions 184,968,400 33,272,683 29,503,683 29,303,683
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0
Total program 185,475,000 35,272,683 31,503,683 31,303,683

Regional Economic Growth through Innovation – Voted

Name of transfer payment program:

Growth Through Regional Innovation Program (GRIP) (known as Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program [REGI Program])

This includes Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) initiatives in two streams: Pilot Contribution Program (known as the Women Entrepreneurship Fund [WEF]) and WES Ecosystem Fund

Start date: October 18, 2018

End date: REGI – March 31, 2023; WEF – March 31, 2020; WES Ecosystem Fund – March 31, 2023

Type of transfer payment: REGI – Grant and Contribution; WES – Contribution

Type of appropriation: Annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2018-19

Link to the department’s Program Inventory: Business Growth; Innovation Ecosystem; Trade and Investment; Inclusive Communities; Research and Development, and Commercialization

Description: The Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) initiative builds on the objectives of the Innovation and Skills Plan. The goal of the REGI Program is to provide streamlined, nationally coordinated yet regionally tailored support for business productivity and scale-up, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), women entrepreneurs and other underrepresented groups, and assist the enhancement of regional industrial and technology clusters and regional innovation ecosystems.

The program provides assistance through two streams:

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) provides nationally coordinated, regionally tailored investments to help women entrepreneurs and support regional innovation ecosystems through two program streams:

Contributions issued under the REGI Program may be unconditionally or conditionally repayable, or non-repayable. Contributions issued under WES are non-repayable only.

Expected results:

Fiscal year of last completed evaluation: Not applicable – new program.

Decision following the results of last evaluation: Not applicable – new program.

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation: Evaluation of the REGI Program in 2024-25.

General targeted recipient groups:

Initiatives to engage applicants and recipients:

ACOA collaborates with its partners and engages key stakeholders in discussions regarding economic development and business growth to ensure that the Agency’s investments respond to the needs of SMEs. Key partners and stakeholders may include other levels of government, community leaders, financial institutions and private-sector organizations. Furthermore, information on the REGI initiative as well as WES is shared with applicants and recipients through the Agency’s website.

Type of transfer payment 2018-19 Forecast spending 2019-20 Planned spending 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending
Total grants 500,000 500,000 500,000 500,000
Total contributions 8,353,070 114,971,118 96,864,118 96,264,118
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0
Total program 8,853,070 115,471,118 97,364,118 96,764,118

Community Futures Program – Voted

Start date: May 18, 1995

End date: Ongoing

Type of transfer payment: Contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2009-10

Link to department’s Program Inventory: Inclusive Communities

Description: The program’s purpose is to help communities develop and implement local solutions to local problems. It provides non-repayable contributions to community futures organizations (CFOs), also known in Atlantic Canada as Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs), and their associations. Community-based governance is at the heart of the Community Futures Program. The CBDCs are legally incorporated, non-profit, autonomous organizations managed by local volunteer board members who make decisions that shape these organizations, affect the lives of entrepreneurs and impact their communities. They provide financial and technical support to SMEs and social enterprises in rural areas. 

Expected results: The ultimate outcomes under the program are:

Fiscal year of last completed evaluation: Horizontal Evaluation of the Community Futures Program, 2018-19

Decision following the results of last evaluation: Continuation

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation: Evaluation of the Community Futures Program, 2023-24

General targeted recipient groups:

Initiatives to engage applicants and recipients: The Agency will continue to engage with and align its support to the CBDC network as part of the Community Futures of Tomorrow model under a collaborative joint oversight committee. This will maximize all resources available, including the funds provided by the Community Futures Program. With a view to maintaining the long-term viability of the program, the committee acts as a governance body by ensuring that the model’s objectives are being managed collaboratively among individual CBDCs, the Atlantic Association of CBDCs, and ACOA. The Agency will continue to collaborate with the CBDC network and individual organizations to enhance their program-delivery capacity and governance practices, where required, and support the network in providing training to community development officers and board members to successfully achieve results.

ACOA will continue to work with the other regional development agencies and the CBDCs to strengthen the integrity, the consistency and the collection of performance results, and will continue to implement the program’s performance measurement strategy. In collaboration with other federal departments responsible for the management of the program, ACOA will present performance results for 2018-19, and will continue to engage the CBDCs in refining the collection and use of performance information needed by all stakeholders.

Type of transfer payment 2018-19 Forecast spending 2019-20 Planned spending 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending
Total grants 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,642,000
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0
Total 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,642,000

Innovative Communities Fund – Voted

Start date: April 1, 2005

End date: Ongoing

Type of transfer payment: Contribution

Type of appropriation: Appropriated annually through Estimates

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2009-10

Link to the department’s Program Inventory: Diversified Communities; Inclusive Communities

Description: The Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) is designed to make non-repayable contributions in support of strategic initiatives that respond to the economic development needs of communities. The ICF focuses on investments that lead to long-term employment and economic capacity-building in rural communities. Urban initiatives that stimulate the competitiveness and vitality of rural communities may also be considered on a select basis.

Expected results: The ICF capitalizes on the strengths of Atlantic Canadian communities and provides them with the tools needed to identify opportunities for sustainable economic growth. The overall expected result is to improve community capacity to identify and address economic as well as business development needs and opportunities. This will be measured by assessing the percentage of community development projects that meet expected results.

Fiscal year of last completed evaluation: Evaluation of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency’s Communities and Inclusive Growth Programming, 2018-19

Decision following the results of last evaluation: Continuation

Fiscal year of planned completion of next evaluation: Evaluation of Communities and Inclusive Growth Programming, 2023-24

General targeted recipient groups:

Initiatives to engage applicants and recipients:

ACOA continues to collaborate proactively with its partners to identify strategic community projects throughout Atlantic Canada. Each ACOA regional office continues to focus on higher-impact investments in rural communities. This is done through an investment strategy document, by collaborating with municipal and provincial governments on priority sectors, and by undertaking policy research to identify the prominent sectors in a region.

Type of transfer payment 2018-19 Forecast spending 2019-20 Planned spending 2020-21 Planned spending 2021-22 Planned spending
Total grants 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 36,115,700 37,177,762 37,177,762 37,177,762
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0
Total program 36,115,700 37,177,762 37,177,762 37,177,762
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