Details of transfer payment programs

 

Atlantic Innovation Fund (Voted)

Start date: May 10, 2001

End date: Ongoing

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2014-15

Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

Link to department’s program alignment architecture: Enterprise Development; Innovation and Commercialization

Description: The Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) focuses on research and development (R&D) projects in the areas of natural and applied sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts and culture where these are explicitly linked to the development, commercialization and adaptation of technology-based products, processes or services.

Contributions to not-for-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.

Results achieved: The AIF program continues to be a catalyst in increasing the region’s capacity to carry out leading-edge R&D, and contributes to the development of new technology-based economic activity in Atlantic Canada. Fiscal year 2015-16 was the first full year with the new AIF continuous intake model and, paired with the Agency’s Innovation uptake plan, resulted in 10 projects being approved for a total contribution of $19.7 million in funding. The projects involved linkages between institutions, government entities and the private sector, with 18 key collaborations created in all.

The 10 projects leveraged $19.1 million in funding from other sources such as the private sector, universities and Atlantic provincial governments, including $0.9 million from national R&D programs.

Audits completed or planned: No audits were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Evaluations completed or planned: No evaluations were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Engagement of applicants and recipients: In 2015-16 the Agency developed an action plan to support the uptake of its innovation programming, including the AIF.

This involved taking an integrated approach, both in how ACOA communicates with its clients about innovation (focusing on clients’ needs rather than on ACOA’s programs), and in how ACOA organizes its service delivery.

As part of this innovation uptake action plan, ACOA launched an advertising campaign on Twitter and LinkedIn to ensure awareness of the importance of innovation and how its programs can support innovation in Atlantic Canada. The campaign was targeted at Atlantic Canadian businesses, entrepreneurs, universities, colleges and research institutions, and generated significant interest, all the while driving traffic to ACOA’s innovation web content.

The innovation uptake action plan also included the proactive development of a sector at the pan-Atlantic level. Aquaculture was identified as a sector that would benefit from such a coordinated effort. Two workshops were held with stakeholders to discuss gaps, barriers and opportunities for the sector, which resulted in the identification of five priority areas for innovation R&D.

(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 47,766,112 45,027,132 51,500,000 51,500,000 37,241,006 (14,258,994)
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 47,766,112 45,027,132 51,500,000 51,500,000 37,241,006 (14,258,994)

Comments on variance: The $14.3 million variance is mostly due to delays encountered during the implementation of some AIF projects as well as the transfer of AIF funds to the Business Development Program (BDP) in order to meet increasing demand for the BDP.

Business Development Program (Voted)

Start date: July 25, 1995

End date: Ongoing

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2010-11

Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

Link to department’s program alignment architecture: Enterprise Development; Innovation and Commercialization; Productivity and Growth; International Business Development; Community Development; Community Investment; Community-based Business Development; Policy, Advocacy and Coordination; Policy

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

The objectives of the BDP are to:

  • improve the growth and competitiveness of Atlantic SMEs;
  • provide for dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada; and
  • provide for initiatives that strengthen the Atlantic economy.

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 not-for-profit organizations are generally non-repayable but are conditionally repayable if a project results in what would normally be considered a commercial activity.

Results achieved: In 2015-16, through the BDP, the Agency approved $114.0 million in funding for 779 projects to help SMEs innovate, commercialize, expand, modernize, develop productivity, improve business skills and increase export activity. Of this amount, $106.8 million was for new projects and was applied toward costs of $248.4 million. For every $1.00 invested by the Agency, $1.33 was leveraged from other sources such as the private sector, universities and research institutes, national programs and Atlantic provincial governments.

The Agency contributed to the enhanced productivity and growth capacity of Atlantic Canadian SMEs (as measured by the growth in sales of ACOA-assisted firms). This sales growth exceeded that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA by 3.5 percentage points. ACOA investments in productivity and growth projects enabled SMEs to improve their productivity, acquire technology, expand and/or modernize their operations, hire new employees, train existing employees, implement new efficiencies and reduce waste, thereby stimulating growth and competitiveness. With these investments, SMEs were able to implement quality and productivity improvement programs, diversify their product lines, expand their customer base and reduce operating costs.

ACOA’s efforts to promote trade and foreign direct investments, and to project a favourable image of the region in foreign markets resulted in 16 foreign direct investment transactions completed (deals closed) where ACOA's human or financial support contributed to bring the project to fruition. Further, 84 per cent of SMEs expanded their international sales within 12 months of participating in an international business development activity.

The Agency also contributed to the development of dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada. The BDP improved community capacity to respond to economic and business development opportunities and challenges by leveraging $1.51 from other sources for every $1.00 invested by the Agency. This leveraging was accomplished through ACOA’s approval of $27.9 million in funding for new projects, toward total costs of $70.2 million.

Audits completed or planned: No audits were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Evaluations completed or planned:

Completed:

  • Evaluation of Tourism Programming (BDP), April 2016 (previously titled Meta-evaluation of Tourism.)
  • Evaluation of the Productivity and Growth Sub-program (BDP), September 2015
  • Evaluation of the International Business Development Sub-program (BDP), May 2015

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

In ensuring that BDP elements (business establishment and expansion, innovation, skills development and trade activities) are designed for continuous improvement to support expected outcomes, ACOA engages the following stakeholders: the business sector; community-based economic development organizations and volunteer groups; universities and colleges; research institutes; other levels of government; First Nation communities and official language minority communities.

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

The Agency also consults its applicants and clients through periodic satisfaction surveys. These surveys provide the Agency with information on the importance of various service features and on areas for improvement.

Program: Enterprise Development
(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 300,055 150,521 1,000,000 1,000,000 139,604 (860,396)
Total contributions
105,036,876 102,113,788 92,385,256 82,755,631 110,342,065 17,956,809
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 105,336,931 102,264,309 93,385,256 83,755,631 110,481,669 17,096,413

Comments on variance: There continues to be strong demand for BDP programming. Additional funding was made available from other transfer payment programs (such as the AIF), from additional spending authorities and from reallocating BDP funds from Community Development to Enterprise Development. This occurred in large part as a response to a greater number of non-commercial projects being approved in 2014-15 ($46.3 million compared with $25.3 million in the previous fiscal year), which resulted in increased spending into 2015-16.

Program: Community Development
(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 167,276 242,420 1,000,000 1,000,000 211,157 (788,843)
Total contributions 22,746,556 21,295,418 25,905,734 41,120,845 20,300,693 (5,605,041)
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 22,913,832 21,537,838 26,905,734 42,120,845 20,511,850 (6,393,884)

Comments on variance: During the year, ACOA regional offices responded to changing priorities by reallocating funding from Community Development to Enterprise Development as a result of delays in projects, which led to spending that was lower than planned.

Program: Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 16,944 50,000 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 800,927 3,216,434 1,604,000 1,190,993 2,497,426 893,426
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total
817,871 3,266,434 1,604,000 1,190,993 2,497,426 893,426
Total for all programs 129,068,634 127,068,581 121,894,990 127,067,470 133,490,945 11,595,955

Comments on variance: During the 2015-16 fiscal year, a transfer from Enterprise Development was required to support increased programming demands under Policy, Advocacy and Coordination.

Community Futures Program (Voted)

Start date: May 18, 1995

End date: Ongoing

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2009-10

Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

Link to department’s program alignment architecture: Community Development; Community-based Business Development

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, known in Atlantic Canada as Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs), and their associations. Community-based governance is at the heart of the Community Futures (CF) Program. CBDCs are legally incorporated, not-for-profit, autonomous organizations that make decisions at the local level. They provide financial and technical support to SMEs and social enterprises in rural areas. CBDCs are managed by local volunteer board members who make decisions that shape these organizations, affect the lives of entrepreneurs and impact their communities. CBDCs manage over 5,700 loans to rural businesses, totalling over $255 million in investments.

Results achieved: In 2015-16, CBDCs continued to provide an essential source of investment capital focused on rural businesses as well as business counselling and skills development. CBDCs assisted 1,440 businesses through their investment fund by approving 1,550 loans, representing a total direct investment in local SMEs of $72.5 million. These investments contributed to the creation of 1,785 new jobs in rural communities in Atlantic Canada. The Agency maximized the use of funds available to CBDCs as recipients of CF funding in accordance with the Community Futures of Tomorrow model. ACOA continued to collaborate with the CBDC network to enhance governance practices when needed and provided ongoing training to board members. In 2015-16, a total of seven training sessions were completed across the region with a total of 71 participants. ACOA also supported the network in the development of a CBDC education and training strategy and a new performance reporting platform.

Audits completed or planned: No audits were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Evaluations completed or planned: No evaluations were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Engagement of applicants and recipients: The Agency continued to engage with and align its support to the CBDC network as part of the implementation of the Community Futures of Tomorrow model under a collaborative joint oversight committee. This maximized all resources available, including the funds provided by the CF program. With a view to maintaining the long-term viability of the CF 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. As part of the Agency’s due diligence processes and its accountability to Parliament, it has a responsibility to ensure that appropriate governance practices are in place with respect to organizations to which it provides operational support. ACOA continues to collaborate with the CBDC network and individual organizations to enhance governance practices, where required, and provide ongoing training to board members to ensure a continued understanding of effective governance and the importance of achieving desired results the right way.

ACOA continues to work with other federal regional development agencies, the Community Futures Network of Canada (CFNC) and the CBDCs to increase integrity and consistency as well as the collection of performance results, and to implement the CF program’s performance measurement strategy. In collaboration with other federal government departments responsible for the management of the program, ACOA presents performance results for 2015-16 and continues to engage the CFNC in refining the collection and use of performance information needed by all stakeholders, including the CBDCs.

(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 12,614,168 12,664,849 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,604,443 (37,557)
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 12,614,168 12,664,849 12,642,000 12,642,000 12,604,443 (37,557)

Comments on variance: n/a

Innovative Communities Fund (Voted)

Start date: April 1, 2005

End date: Ongoing

Fiscal year for terms and conditions: 2009-10

Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

Link to department’s program alignment architecture: Community Development; Community Investment; Community-based Business Development

Description: The Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) is designed to make non-repayable contributions to strategic projects that build the economies of Atlantic Canada’s 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.

Results achieved: In 2015-16, ACOA continued to work with communities and stakeholders on strategic projects related to economic development capacity as well as business-sector development. These efforts resulted in the Agency funding 95 projects under the ICF. These projects had total costs of $162.3 million, with an ACOA contribution of $47.1 million and $115.2 million leveraged from other sources. A total of 312 partners collaborated on the various investments made throughout Atlantic Canada under the program.

Audits completed or planned: No audits were completed or planned during fiscal year 2015-16.

Evaluations completed or planned:

Completed:

  • Evaluation of Tourism Programming (ICF), April 2016 (previously titled Meta‑evaluation of Tourism)

Engagement of applicants and recipients: ACOA’s transfer payment programs (including the ICF) are designed, managed and delivered in such a way that they remain client-focused, are relevant to applicants’ and recipients’ needs, and achieve the expected results for which they are designed.

Under the ICF, the Agency continues to proactively engage with its partners and stakeholders, including community organizations, educational institutions, official language minority communities, Indigenous communities and other levels of government, through discussions regarding strategic community development opportunities. These discussions ensure that the Agency’s investments continue to respond to the evolving economic needs and priorities of Atlantic Canadian communities.

In addition, ICF information is continually shared with applicants and recipients through ACOA’s website.

(dollars)

2013-14
Actual
Spending
2014-15
Actual
Spending
2015-16
Planned
Spending
2015-16
Total
Authorities Available for Use
2015-16
Actual
Spending (Authorities Used)
Variance
(2015-16 Actual
minus
2015-16 Planned)
Total grants 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total contributions 34,508,394 41,646,990 36,208,465 36,208,465 40,951,128 4,742,663
Total other types of transfer payments 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 34,508,394 41,646,990 36,208,465 36,208,465 40,951,128 4,742,663

Comments on variance: Additional funding was required under this program to meet increased demands in support of several community investment projects.

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