2018-19 Departmental Results Report
Results at a glance
|Total actual spending
|Total actual full-time equivalents
In 2018-19, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) invested in strategic projects across Atlantic Canada and continued work to advance the Innovation and Skills Plan, a whole-of-government, multi-year approach designed to establish Canada as one of the world’s most innovative countries and to foster a culture of innovation from coast to coast to coast, as well as the Atlantic Growth Strategy designed to drive economic development in the region by delivering concrete and measurable results in priority areas.
In collaboration with other regional development agencies and Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, ACOA implemented the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) Program, a nationally coordinated, regionally tailored program designed to foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness. This program focuses on business scale-up and productivity; and creating, growing and nurturing inclusive regional innovation ecosystems.
The Agency also launched various national initiatives announced in Budget 2018, including the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) and its two components: the WES Ecosystem Fund, to strengthen capacity and close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs, and the Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF), to help women-owned and women-led businesses grow and reach export markets. ACOA further launched two other initiatives: the Steel and Aluminum Initiative for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating within the Canadian steel and aluminum supply chain, to support projects that enhance productivity, increase competitiveness and create more highly skilled jobs through the adoption of new and innovative technologies; and the Canada Coal Transition Initiative with Western Economic Diversification Canada, to help workers and communities in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick affected by the future closure of coal-fired electricity plants transition to a low-carbon economy.
ACOA’s client-centric approach not only served its clients but also connected them with other federal programs and services. A recent evaluation found that “ACOA offers unique supports to address regional economic challenges, such as a declining workforce… and skills gaps. The programming achieves key expected outcomes… ACOA is a valued and trusted partner in economic development in Atlantic Canada.”
In 2018-19, the Agency focused on key priorities such as advanced manufacturing, clean growth, food, tourism, skills, Indigenous economic development, oceans, innovation ecosystems and immigration. Activities included the following:
Technologies – ACOA invested close to $81 million in 186 projects to support the development, commercialization and adoption of innovative technologies. As part of these efforts, the Agency fostered partnerships and collaborations between the private sector and research and business support organizations; and it provided $5.8 million to 14 business accelerators and incubators in the region to address gaps in support of start-ups.
- With ACOA funding, Nova Scotia based Sustane Technologies Inc. acquired clean technology that converts municipal garbage into clean fuel products and recyclable materials. This initiative will support new jobs, affordable and sustainable energy development and significant export opportunities.
- ACOA supported the Smart Grid Innovation Network, a collaborative partnership between NB Power, the University of New Brunswick and Siemens Canada. The network developed, tested and commercialized smart-grid-ready technologies that help integrate renewable energy into power grids and reduce greenhouse gases.
Businesses – ACOA helped grow globally competitive businesses by investing more than $128 million in 764 projects to support the development of products and services, the adoption and adaptation of advanced technology, and the acquisition of skills and market knowledge. It supported company-oriented growth plans under the Accelerated Growth Service, worked with federal and provincial partners to implement the multi-year Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy, and helped businesses and tourism operators expand through the Atlantic Canada Tourism Agreement.
- ACOA helped Prince Edward Island’s New Leaf Essentials Ltd., a food manufacturing company, invest in new equipment to further process dried seed and sell it into the pet food ingredient market in Canada and the United States, thus enabling further automation and expansion into new markets.
- With assistance from ACOA, Ocean Choice International (OCI), from Newfoundland and Labrador, implemented an innovative factory production line on a new groundfish vessel. This enhanced OCI’s harvesting and production capability while reducing its overall environmental impact.
Communities – ACOA fostered inclusive growth by investing over $70 million in 399 projects to develop and diversify communities. The Agency helped attract and retain global talent, supported strategic investment to help communities adapt to changing economic circumstances, and engaged with governments, businesses and community stakeholders to foster economic growth in Indigenous communities.
- ACOA supported the pan-Atlantic expansion of the Study & Stay initiative in 2018. The initiative is designed to recruit international students and retain them as permanent residents in Atlantic Canada upon their post-secondary graduation. A cohort of more than 150 international students across all four Atlantic provinces was recruited from countries such as China, India and the Philippines.
- With ACOA funding, the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island developed initiatives to further advance social enterprises for First Nation communities of Prince Edward Island and to establish new ones. It also provided Indigenous entrepreneurial support and increased the number of product offerings and the entrepreneurship skills of Indigenous tourism operators and vendors.
For more information on ACOA’s plans, priorities and results achieved, see the “Results: what we achieved” section of this report.
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