2013-14 Departmental Performance Report
Ministers’ messages and section I



Departmental Performance Reports are part of the Estimates family of documents. Estimates documents support appropriation acts, which specify the amounts and broad purposes for which funds can be spent by the government. The Estimates document family has three parts.

Part I (Government Expenditure Plan) provides an overview of federal spending.

Part II (Main Estimates) lists the financial resources required by individual departments, agencies and Crown corporations for the upcoming fiscal year.

Part III (Departmental Expenditure Plans) consists of two documents. Reports on Plans and Priorities (RPPs) are expenditure plans for each appropriated department and agency (excluding Crown corporations). They describe departmental priorities, strategic outcomes, programs, expected results and associated resource requirements, covering a three-year period beginning with the year indicated in the title of the report. Departmental Performance Reports (DPRs) are individual department and agency accounts of actual performance, for the most recently completed fiscal year, against the plans, priorities and expected results set out in their respective RPPs. DPRs inform parliamentarians and Canadians of the results achieved by government organizations for Canadians.

Additionally, Supplementary Estimates documents present information on spending requirements that were either not sufficiently developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates or were subsequently refined to account for developments in particular programs and services.

The financial information in DPRs is drawn directly from authorities presented in the Main Estimates and the planned spending information in RPPs. The financial information in DPRs is also consistent with information in the Public Accounts of Canada. The Public Accounts of Canada include the Government of Canada Consolidated Statement of Financial Position, the Consolidated Statement of Operations and Accumulated Deficit, the Consolidated Statement of Change in Net Debt, and the Consolidated Statement of Cash Flow, as well as details of financial operations segregated by ministerial portfolio for a given fiscal year. For the DPR, two types of financial information are drawn from the Public Accounts of Canada: authorities available for use by an appropriated organization for the fiscal year, and authorities used for that same fiscal year. The latter corresponds to actual spending as presented in the DPR.

The Treasury Board Policy on Management, Resources and Results Structures further strengthens the alignment of the performance information presented in DPRs, other Estimates documents and the Public Accounts of Canada. The policy establishes the Program Alignment Architecture of appropriated organizations as the structure against which financial and non-financial performance information is provided for Estimates and parliamentary reporting. The same reporting structure applies irrespective of whether the organization is reporting in the Main Estimates, the RPP, the DPR or the Public Accounts of Canada.

A number of changes have been made to DPRs for 2013-14 to better support decisions on appropriations. Where applicable, DPRs now provide financial, human resources and performance information in Section II at the lowest level of the organization’s Program Alignment Architecture.

In addition, the DPR’s format and terminology have been revised to provide greater clarity, consistency and a strengthened emphasis on Estimates and Public Accounts information. As well, departmental reporting on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy has been consolidated into a new supplementary information table posted on departmental websites. This new table brings together all of the components of the Departmental Sustainable Development Strategy formerly presented in DPRs and on departmental websites, including reporting on the Greening of Government Operations and Strategic Environmental Assessments. Section III of the report provides a link to the new table on the organization’s website. Finally, definitions of terminology are now provided in an appendix.

Minister’s message

Our Government is committed to maintaining Canada’s economic stability by creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity through our Economic Action Plan.

Canada’s success depends on the competitiveness of its businesses and industries. That is why, in 2013-14, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) continued to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to innovate and commercialize their products and services, to enhance their business skills and productivity, and to sharpen their competitive edge in domestic and global markets. The Agency also worked to identify opportunities and challenges related to the growth and sustainability of communities, particularly those in rural areas, and the resource sectors on which many rely.

In New Brunswick, ACOA supported the growth of an early stage technology company, Introhive, as it commercialized its innovative software platform. This Fredericton-based firm has quickly expanded from nine employees to more than 40 and is poised for continued growth, particularly in the export market. In Lunenburg, N.S., the Agency supported Composites Atlantic in improving its internal processes, thereby increasing its productivity and competitiveness. This manufacturer of parts for the aeronautic, space and defence industries provides employment to more than 370 people.

ACOA helped Royal Star Foods of Tignish, P.E.I., to expand its capacity and strengthen its ability to compete in the global seafood market. With up to 290 employees at peak periods, this rural company is one of the largest seafood processors in the region. The Agency’s support to the internationally recognized Ocean Sciences Centre at Memorial University of Newfoundland helped enhance its capacity to respond to the needs of the provincial aquaculture industry, a sector that provides approximately 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, mostly in rural areas.

I am pleased to present ACOA’s 2013-14 Departmental Performance Report, which outlines, in more detail, the Agency’s success in promoting economic development in Atlantic Canada.


Bernard Valcourt, PC, QC, MP
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development


Minister of State’s message

In 2013-14, ACOA continued to help SMEs and communities throughout Atlantic Canada to create and maximize opportunities for economic growth.

ACOA continued to support SMEs in projects designed to increase their productivity and competitiveness. These initiatives included the acquisition of new technology, the expansion and modernization of their businesses, and the marketing of their products and services within Canada and abroad.

The Agency also continued to work with provincial partners, industry, professional organizations and other stakeholders to help SMEs prepare for significant emerging opportunities, such as those expected from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement. This historic agreement will give Atlantic SMEs greater access to the lucrative European market and is expected to inject $12 billion a year into the Canadian economy. ACOA also organized seven events under the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan to help SMEs prepare for business opportunities related to the renewal of Canada’s naval and coast guard fleets. These events attracted 355 SME representatives and led to 145 one-on-one meetings with major marine and defence contractors.

ACOA continued its work to strengthen the economic base of rural and urban communities by collaborating with partners such as community colleges, provincial governments, industry associations and Aboriginal stakeholders on ways to maximize and diversify economic development opportunities, including those related to local resource industries. Moreover, as a result of ACOA’s support to the region’s Community Business Development Corporations, more than 1,400 new jobs were created in rural communities across Atlantic Canada.

Within the Agency, initiatives were implemented to enhance internal innovation and efficiency in order to ensure that ACOA continues to excel in providing timely, relevant and effective services and support to this region and its people.



Rob Moore, PC, MP
Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)


Section I: organizational expenditure overview

Organizational profile

Appropriate Minister: The Honourable Bernard Valcourt, PC, QC, MP

Minister of State: The Honourable Rob Moore, PC, MP

Institutional Head: Mr. Paul J. LeBlanc, President

Ministerial portfolio: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Enabling Instrument: Part I of the Government Organization Act, Atlantic Canada 1987, R.S.C, 1985, c. 41 (4th Supp.), also known as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act. See the Department of Justice website for more information.

Year of Incorporation: 1987

Other: Mr. Gerald Keddy is the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Information regarding the Repayable Contributions Portfolio of ACOA’s Business Development Program is available on the Agency’s website.

Organizational context

Raison d’être

Established in 1987 (Part I of the Government Organization Act, Atlantic Canada 1987, R.S.C., 1985, c.41 [4th Supp.], also known as the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act), the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is the federal department responsible for the Government of Canada’s economic development efforts in the provinces of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.

The Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) is responsible for this organization.

ACOA works to create opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada by helping businesses become more competitive, innovative and productive, by working with diverse communities to develop and diversify local economies, and by championing the strengths of Atlantic Canada. Together with Atlantic Canadians, ACOA is building a stronger economy.


ACOA plays an important role in developing and supporting policies and programs that strengthen the region’s economy. Its responsibilities are stated in the Agency’s legislation, which mandates the organization “to increase opportunity for economic development in Atlantic Canada and, more particularly, to enhance the growth of earned incomes and employment opportunities in that region.”[i] Although the Agency’s policies and program tools have evolved since its inception, the overall goal remains constant. ACOA is dedicated to helping the Atlantic region realize its full economic potential in terms of productivity, innovation, competitiveness and growth. This is achieved by addressing structural changes in the economy, helping communities and businesses to overcome challenges, and capitalizing on opportunities. ACOA is committed to helping the region build its capacity and make the transition to a stronger economy.

The Agency provides services through its head office in Moncton, N.B., and throughout the four Atlantic provinces, with regional offices located in each of the provincial capitals and 24 local field offices. With its Ottawa office, ACOA ensures that Atlantic Canada’s interests are reflected in the policies and programs developed by other departments and agencies of the federal government.

Strategic outcome and program alignment architecture

ACOA’s strategic outcome – a competitive Atlantic Canadian economy – and its program alignment architecture (PAA) can be found below. The PAA is based on the results of policy research and analysis, the periodic assessment of program relevance and performance, ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in the region, and the priorities and directions of the Government of Canada.

  1.  Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

1.1 Program: Enterprise Development

1.1.1 Sub-Program: Innovation and Commercialization

1.1.2 Sub-Program: Productivity and Growth

1.1.3 Sub-Program: International Business Development

1.2 Program: Community Development

1.2.1 Sub-Program: Community Mobilization

1.2.2 Sub-Program: Community-based Business Development

1.2.3 Sub-Program: Community Investment

1.2.4 Sub-Program: Infrastructure Programming

1.3 Program: Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

1.3.1 Sub-Program: Policy

1.3.2 Sub-Program: Advocacy

1.3.3 Sub-Program: Coordination

Internal Services

Organizational priorities

All organizational priorities support the Agency’s strategic outcome: a competitive Atlantic Canadian economy. This outcome reflects the Agency’s legislative purpose to enhance the growth of earned incomes and employment opportunities and to advocate on behalf of Atlantic Canada, affecting national policy.

Priority 1 Type[ii] Program
Focus ACOA’s programs and services on initiatives that encourage Atlantic Canadian businesses to become more innovative, productive and competitive in the global marketplace. Ongoing Enterprise Development
Community Development
Summary of Progress
What progress has been made toward this priority?

In 2013-14, ACOA supported a broad range of projects to enhance the competitiveness and productivity of businesses, leading to improved growth and ultimately increased wealth, thus ensuring dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada.

  • The Agency invested $61.7 million toward 161 innovation and commercialization projects, including amendments to projects approved in prior fiscal years. This allowed ACOA to help SMEs maximize their growth potential by developing new technologies and improving processes. The Agency invested a further $59.7 million in 452 projects that contributed to the productivity and growth of SMEs in Atlantic Canada, including projects related to technology acquisition, expansion and modernization, domestic marketing, productivity and business skills, and business support. Examples include:
    • the renewal of an $8.5 million funding agreement for Springboard Atlantic Inc., a network of 18 Atlantic universities and community colleges, to further advance the commercialization of research and development (R&D) in Atlantic Canada;.
    • a pilot project in New Brunswick with partners such as the University of New Brunswick and the Coastal Zones Research Institute Inc. to assist them in developing pathways to help SMEs bring new technologies to market;
    • a skills-building workshop for more than 70 entrepreneurs offered by Saint Mary’s University's Sobey School of Business in Nova Scotia;
    • leading the planning of a workshop on productivity programs in Prince Edward Island (including lean manufacturing and Six Sigma) that resulted in the development of a federal/provincial working group on productivity; and
    • professional development and outreach sessions as well as marketing activities in Newfoundland and Labrador to increase awareness of angel or equity investment, to promote the Newfoundland and Labrador angel network, and to offer entrepreneurs and businesses opportunities to be financed for growth.
  • ACOA invested more than $30 million in economic and community development projects that directly supported the Atlantic Canadian tourism economy.
  • ACOA displayed strong leadership in its approach to assisting regional business and industry to expand into the global marketplace by investing $15.8 million in 130 international business development activities and by facilitating SME participation in trade missions in Central and South America, the Caribbean, the United States, Europe and Asia (China, India, Japan and South Korea).
  • ACOA supported the implementation of the Atlantic Gateway and Trade Corridor International Marketing Program and promoted the region’s strategic assets at trade shows, including in Belgium and the United States, and supported an inbound tour of key Atlantic Gateway facilities by Brazilian trade journalists.
  • Through effective research, coordination and policy, ACOA identified approaches to address productivity, competitiveness and skills challenges faced by SMEs throughout the region. For example, information and communication technology as well as aerospace sector plans were developed for Prince Edward Island, and a report was prepared outlining opportunities for Cape Breton companies and organizations related to major projects.
  • The Agency supported several activities to help SMEs capitalize on procurement and development opportunities tied to the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan with a particular focus on the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Activities included supply chain training sessions, an opportunities study and an event where SMEs were able to meet with shipbuilding contractors and tour their facilities.
Priority 2 Type Program
Develop strategies, policies and programs that recognize the distinct economic development needs and opportunities of Atlantic Canadian communities, with a particular focus on rural businesses and communities. Ongoing Community Development Enterprise Development
Summary of Progress
What progress has been made toward this priority?

In 2013-14, ACOA worked closely with numerous stakeholders to identify and develop key initiatives that served to strengthen and enhance the economic foundations and the sustainability of communities throughout Atlantic Canada.

  • ACOA worked with public- and private-sector partners to assist SMEs in both rural and urban areas. This included an initiative with community colleges to accelerate knowledge transfer in the forestry sector and the value-added wood manufacturing industry, and assistance to the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development to expand its business skills development services to entrepreneurs.
  • The Agency worked closely with provincial partners to address the needs of rural areas that are especially vulnerable to the outmigration of skilled workers and an aging population, such as participating in the consultation process for the development of the Newfoundland and Labrador Population Growth Strategy.
  • Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) continued to invest capital in rural businesses and to offer business counselling and skills development training; investments resulted in over 1,400 new jobs created in rural communities of Atlantic Canada.
  • The Agency assisted in addressing the economic challenges faced by resource sectors such as forestry, fisheries, aquaculture and mining. For example, ACOA provided support to:
    • the Lobster Council of Canada in the implementation of a lobster traceability project, which contributed to the long-term growth and global competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian lobster;
    • the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association to develop a consumer focus marketing strategy for Atlantic salmon;
    • Atlantic WoodWORKS!, an initiative focused on increasing the consumption of locally-produced solid wood materials in the non-residential sector of Atlantic Canada; and
    • western Labrador in maximizing its potential mineral resources by addressing supply and infrastructure constraints linked to operating in a remote northern area.
  • Investments in community infrastructure facilitated economic development efforts in the region. ACOA concluded the delivery of the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund by fully committing and spending its allocation of $16.6 million on 299 projects in Atlantic Canadian communities.
  • The Agency continued to serve the Atlantic region’s francophone official language minority community by working with Canadian Heritage and 13 other federal departments to put in place the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, and it began delivery of the Economic Development Initiative.
  • The Agency worked with the Atlantic Policy Congress of First Nations Chiefs Secretariat to further create entrepreneurial opportunities and build capacity within Aboriginal communities as relates to Aboriginal economic development.
  • Research and analysis also continued to be important in the implementation of initiatives responding to the needs of diverse areas. For example, ACOA worked with all four provincial governments and Memorial University’s Leslie Harris Centre, which conducted a study exploring a new economic development framework known as functional economic regions. A key conclusion of this study was that functional economic regions – from the most urban to the most rural – can prosper, and similar regions can benefit from learning best practices from other successful regions.
Priority 3 Type Program
Leadership through coordination and engagement with business, government and other stakeholders throughout the region to enable businesses to capitalize on emerging opportunities and address key challenges in areas such as skills. New Policy, Advocacy and Coordination
Summary of Progress
What progress has been made toward this priority?
  • In 2013-14, ACOA conducted a number of policy analyses and engagement initiatives linked to major projects and key areas of importance to the Atlantic region, namely innovation, community development, clean and renewable energy, shipbuilding, resource industries, tourism, business skills and international business development, so that stakeholders are well equipped to capitalize on major opportunities. For example:
    • ACOA remained at the forefront of business innovation policy and practices by leading a series of engagement sessions with targeted business, community and post-secondary stakeholders to seek feedback on how to enhance its approach in supporting innovation and shaping the way forward to encourage productivity and growth in Atlantic Canada.
  • Through advocacy efforts, ACOA maintained strong relationships with central agencies and other government departments in the federal policy environment to ensure appropriate reflection in specific files of national and regional interest. For example:
    • collaborating on key Government of Canada priority files such as innovation, skills, infrastructure and various trade agreements;
    • promoting opportunities on upcoming major projects through the delivery of nine industrial development initiatives in the four Atlantic provinces, targeting 30 defence contractors to position Atlantic Canadian industry to compete for future business opportunities in global supply chains across Europe and the United States. This resulted in over 150 business-to-business meetings for Atlantic Canadian firms and organizations;
    • championing opportunities under the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy through Phase 2 of the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan. Seven initiatives were implemented, reaching 355 Atlantic SME participants and facilitating over 145 business meetings with marine and defence contractors. 
  • ACOA pursued work under the Atlantic Energy Gateway to facilitate the development of the Atlantic energy sector by coordinating efforts between federal and provincial partners in support of the development of new energy projects in the region. It also collaborated with Transport Canada and the Atlantic Provinces to pursue its work under the Atlantic Gateway Federal-Provincial Officials Committee by providing resources to develop pertinent pieces of research and by supporting events that highlighted the region’s transportation network at the international level, and by initiating the implementation of the Foreign Trade Zone task force announced in Economic Action Plan 2013.
  • ACOA also worked with federal and provincial partners to maintain a high level of engagement through the International Business Development Agreement to increase exports and pursued its work with the Atlantic Provinces and their tourism industry associations through the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership to develop tourism in the region.
  • ACOA continued to work with provincial partners, industry, associations and Aboriginal stakeholders to maximize the economic benefits that may accrue in the region in relation to emerging opportunities. For example:
    • In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Agency worked with the provincial government and industry partners to plan and implement an Oceans and Energy R&D Forum. More than 140 participants from industry, academia and government participated in the event, which focused on business skills for the development of R&D projects.
    • In Nova Scotia, the Agency supported a pilot initiative led by the Centre for Women in Business called BizConnect, a program designed to introduce women business owners to ways of developing their operations and taking advantage of local, national and international supply chains.
    • To enhance the competitiveness of the value-added wood sector in New Brunswick, the Agency, in collaboration with provincial and industry stakeholders, developed a strategic initiative to help SMEs assess their capacity, leverage the expertise of an internationally renowned network of sector experts, and identify new market and product development opportunities.
Priority 4 Type Program
Continually improve the internal management of the organization and maintain employee engagement to excel in serving Canadians. Ongoing Internal Services
Summary of Progress
What progress has been made toward this priority?
  • In 2013-14, a number of initiatives were implemented to further mitigate the Agency’s key risks in the area of information systems and tools. Through collaboration with Shared Services Canada and other government departments, ACOA modernized some of its information systems. In addition, the Agency optimized the delivery of programs and services by introducing new tools and modifying existing ones based on feedback obtained through various employee engagement initiatives. For example, a number of modifications were made to the grants and contributions management system to improve client monitoring and results tracking.
  • ACOA further strengthened its approach to risk management by developing guidance, providing training, implementing best practices and formalizing commitments to support the integration of risk considerations into the Agency’s planning and decision-making processes. The Agency also continued to monitor the implementation of mitigating measures for its key risks.
  • The implementation of ACOA’s Values and Ethics Strategy supported the objective of ensuring that values and ethics are a strong and evident part of the Agency’s culture and are firmly integrated within the conduct of Agency employees and business processes.
  • In 2013-14, the Agency committed to achieving the Blueprint 2020 vision and provided opportunities for employee engagement and dialogue to identify innovative ways of responding to evolving needs and priorities. Three key themes emerged: working collaboratively, promoting the use of new technologies and streamlined processes, and developing and mobilizing talent. Examples of initiatives being implemented:
    • creating employee-driven communities;
    • implementing employee engagement committees;
    • collaborating with other federal departments to promote organizational innovation;
    • increasing the use of social media channels to enhance communication and collaboration;
    • renewing the intranet and online information management tool to increase employee opportunities for collaboration and information sharing;
    • using smart technologies to empower employees to connect and collaborate; and
    • using employee-driven process improvement activities, such as kaizen[iii] events, to promote a culture of continuous improvement.
  • ACOA has maintained strong Human Resources practices by ensuring compliance with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Common Human Resources Business Process and by implementing the new Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s Directive on Performance Management, which included improving human resources integration within the operational planning process, providing training to all ACOA managers and employees, and developing innovative and efficient tools such as fast-track staffing and a staffing knowledge centre to better equip managers to assume staffing responsibilities.
  • ACOA has committed to developing and mobilizing talent by creating learning opportunities for employees and ensuring all employees have a continuous learning plan. To diversify work experiences and foster leadership training and professional development, the Agency also established pools of qualified candidates for temporary internal or external work assignments.

Risk analysis

Risk Risk Response Strategy Link to PAA
Organizational Change Management

The risk that organizational change management efforts may not be sufficient to sustain and enhance productivity and overall effectiveness.

ACOA supported opportunities for dialogue and engagement around change management, including implementation of Blueprint 2020 initiatives and of key risk management action plans. Operational planning documents provided concrete evidence of mitigation strategies to manage organizational change. The Agency focused on ensuring managers are properly equipped to lead change management efforts and to assume increased responsibilities resulting from the various organizational changes already introduced (e.g. conflict management tools, training on the Directive on Performance Management). A number of frameworks, tools and processes were also implemented (e.g. kaizen events, new social media guidelines, the fast-track staffing tool, and the ACOA Travel, Hospitality, Conference and Event Expenditures Framework) to empower employees to be creative, and to build on best practices to create efficiencies and support productivity. Internal Services
Information Tools and Systems

The risk that an up-to-date suite of modern, compatible information tools and systems may not be developed in a timely manner, which may affect the effectiveness and efficiency of portfolio management and decision making.

The Agency undertook a comprehensive internal review to confirm business needs and technology gaps. The information gathered was used to develop a new IT solutions strategy aimed at developing a more effective approach to providing standardized tools while respecting the government’s goal of realizing cost efficiencies. Training sessions were held throughout the Agency to address employee knowledge and skills gaps with the use of key corporate systems and tools as well as with a focus on promotion of tools and practices that facilitate information management. Further, the Agency continued to exchange information on best practices and tools with other government departments on a regular basis to improve its strategies and plans for the reduction of implementation costs and risks. Internal Services
Portfolio Management

The risk that existing evaluation, project selection, disbursement, monitoring and portfolio management activities may not be sufficient to manage portfolio risk, ensure an optimal level of collections and control the level of write-offs, resulting in lost opportunities for reinvestment and potential impact on the Agency’s overall effectiveness and reputation.

ACOA improved work processes, enhanced guidance and reference materials that support program delivery, and expanded the availability and adequacy of tools to better support monitoring and oversight of portfolio activities. It continued focusing on training activities, sharing lessons learned and enhancing integration and collaboration across the Agency. It also focused on continuing development and enhancement of dashboards to support management information needs. Enterprise Development

Community Development

Response to Opportunities and Management of Stakeholder Expectations

The risk that the Agency may not be able to effectively respond to opportunities and manage increasing client and stakeholder expectations.

ACOA mitigated this risk through continued monitoring, effective communication, collaboration with stakeholders at the Agency’s many points of contact, and greater integration of the Agency’s planning and strategic decision-making processes. Enterprise Development

Community Development

External factors

After posting a decline in 2012, Atlantic Canada’s real gross domestic product (GDP) rose by 2.6% in 2013,[iv] higher than the average national increase of 2%,[v] supported by strong growth in Newfoundland and Labrador due to increased offshore oil production and continued investment spending in the resource sector. Economic growth in the other three Atlantic provinces was more subdued, with real GDP only advancing by a combined 0.5%.[vi]

The world economy continued to expand in 2013 but at a slower pace than in 2012, a downward trend observed since 2010. Despite the weakness in external markets, Atlantic Canadian exports increased in 2013, with growth in non-energy exports outpacing the national rate.

Increased global competition is requiring businesses in Atlantic Canada to become more competitive and productive. The R&D performance in Atlantic Canada (an indicator in understanding innovation and productivity levels) rose by an annual average of 4.9% from 2001 to 2011, exceeding the national increase of 2.9% – with improvement occurring in the private and higher education sectors. This is expected to contribute to addressing the results of a recent Statistics Canada survey from 2010 to 2012 (looking at businesses that introduced at least one type of innovation, whether product, process, organizational or marketing) that showed that enterprises in Atlantic Canada lag behind the national average in this area.

Internal factors

During fiscal year 2013-14, ACOA continued to demonstrate a strong commitment to delivering quality results for Canadians, with a focus on becoming more efficient and effective through transformed internal business processes and training. The Agency benefited from a strengthened integrated-risk-management (IRM) function, which helped focus efforts and distribute resources in areas where risks were greatest. ACOA updated its Corporate Risk Profile through a comprehensive and consultative assessment approach, and communicated risk management information, direction and accountabilities for IRM across the organization. Through the work of its Risk Management Committee and the engagement of its management team, ACOA demonstrated leadership and commitment to the implementation of a proactive and systematic approach to risk management.

Actual expenditures

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2013-14 Main Estimates 2013-14 Planned Spending 2013-14 Total Authorities Available for Use 2013-14 Actual Spending (authorities used) Difference: (actual minus planned)
299,971,071 299,973,071 318,415,659 314,158,108 14,185,037

Human resources (full-time equivalents – FTEs)

2013-14 Planned 2013-14 Actual Difference (actual minus planned)
565 555 (10)

Budgetary performance summary for strategic outcome and programs (dollars)

Strategic Outcome, Programs, and Internal Services 2013-14 Main Estimates 2013-14 Planned Spending 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16 Planned Spending 2013-14 Total Authorities Available for Use 2013-14 Actual Spending (authorities used) 2012-13 Actual Spending (authorities used) 2011-12 Actual Spending (authorities used)
Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy
Enterprise Development 170,201,748 170,201,748 164,581,549 162,663,269 179,986,762 180,674,018 179,856,451 172,970,427
Community Development 91,307,430 91,307,430 87,408,010 85,408,010 96,523,001 94,103,327 88,520,093 103,813,764
Policy, Advocacy and Coordination 10,855,783 10,855,783 11,351,591 11,351,591 11,764,232 10,634,165 12,403,955 13,646,372
Subtotal 272,364,961 272,364,961 263,341,150 259,422,870 288,273,995, 285,411,510 280,780,499 290,430,563
Internal Services Subtotal 27,606,110 27,608,110 25,145,234 25,145,234 30,141,664 28,746,598 34,881,448 40,023,217
Total 299,971,071 299,973,071 288,486,384 284,568,104 318,415,659 314,158,108 315,661,947 330,453,780

In 2013-14, planned spending of $300.0 million increased by $18.4 million, resulting in total authorities of $318.4 million. This occurred due to the following changes in authorities:

Actual spending of $314.2 million resulted in a surplus of $4.2 million from total authorities of $318.4 million. The Agency will access a portion of this surplus through an operating budget carry forward of $3.4 million.

Alignment of spending with the whole-of-government framework

Alignment of 2013-14 Actual Spending with the Whole-of-Government Framework (dollars)

Strategic Outcome Program Spending Area Government of Canada Outcome 2013-14 Actual Spending
A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy Enterprise Development Economic Affairs Strong Economic Growth 180,674,018
Community Development Economic Affairs Strong Economic Growth 94,103,327
Policy, Advocacy and Coordination Economic Affairs Strong Economic Growth 10,634,165

Total Spending, by Spending Area (dollars)

Spending Area Total Planned Spending Total Actual Spending
Economic Affairs 299,973,071 314,158,108
Social Affairs 0 0
International Affairs 0 0
Government Affairs 0 0


Departmental Spending Trend

The figure below illustrates the Agency’s actual spending from 2011-12 to 2013-14 and planned spending from 2014-15 to 2016-17.


The Agency’s planned spending levels stabilized in 2014-15 after declining from 2011-12 to 2013-14, largely due to sunsetting programs. The sunsetting funding of the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund decreased ACOA’s spending levels by $12.7 million in 2013-14. Other decreases in spending were mostly due to strategic savings identified in Budget 2011 and Budget 2012. The Agency continues to identify and implement cost efficiencies as well as improve the effectiveness of operations and programs to ensure value for taxpayers’ money.

Estimates by vote

For information on ACOA’s organizational votes and/or statutory expenditures, see the Public Accounts of Canada 2014 on the Public Works and Government Services Canada website.


[i] Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency Act, R.S.C., 1985, c. 41, 4th Supp.

[ii] “Type” definitions:

[iii] Kaizen is a Japanese word that means improvement. Kaizen is recognized worldwide as an important pillar of an organization’s long-term competitive strategy. ACOA has adapted this process to address a particular issue over the course of a week by asking employees to evaluate a specific process with improvement in mind and implementing the changes during the same time period.

[iv] Calculations by ACOA using Statistics Canada data, CANSIM Tables 379-0030 and 379-0031.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

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