2016-17 Departmental Results Report - actual results: what we achieved

 

Programs

Enterprise Development

Description:

Despite recent economic progress and some promising opportunities on the horizon (e.g. energy, shipbuilding), some significant challenges remain for the region to maximize positive growth. One of the most telling indicators of this is that in a number of sectors, productivity remains significantly lower than in leading countries and other regions of Canada. The Agency works in partnership with Atlantic Canadian businesses, stakeholders, industry and institutions to improve the growth and productivity of Atlantic Canada’s economy, leading to increased competitiveness, higher earned incomes and job creation. The Agency works to improve the capacity of Atlantic Canada’s rural and urban areas for economic growth through a variety of strategically focused mechanisms: assisting businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to start, expand or modernize and to establish or expand export activities; partnering with universities and other institutions to increase the region’s research and development capacity, commercialization and productivity; and promoting and participating in the region’s transition to a knowledge economy.

Results:

In 2016-17, ACOA sharpened its investments in innovation, increased its support for clean technology development and adoption, and helped strengthen the region’s network of incubators and accelerators. The Agency’s direct investments helped companies increase their productivity and competitiveness, accelerate their growth, strengthen their networks and partnerships, and adopt new technologies. For example, ACOA supported modernization, automation and productivity improvements for companies like Acadian Machine Works Ltd., located in Tignish, P.E.I., and Paul Garland Forest Products Ltd., located in Harbour Grace, N.L. Both companies purchased specialized equipment that will improve productivity of their operations and support their long-term sustainability. ACOA also provided funding to a number of organizations that provide support and services to early-stage companies, provide training, consulting and mentoring expertise to assist SMEs with their commercialization efforts, and facilitate the raising of capital for Atlantic-based SMEs. For example:

The business survival rate is used to measure ACOA’s contribution to increasing companies’ competitiveness. A company’s survival depends on many factors, such as the age of the business, its location and its size. The Agency exceeded its target for this performance indicator. In fact, the business survival rate for ACOA-assisted firms was 58% after the crucial fifth year following start-up for the 2004 to 2014 period, compared to 32% for unassisted firms. This represents a variance of 26 percentage points in the five-year business survival rate between ACOA-assisted firms and unassisted firms.

Another measure of competitiveness is labour productivity. This is estimated using sales per worker. Labour productivity in ACOA-assisted firms experienced healthy growth between 2009 and 2014, as sales per worker rose by 2.2% per year. Labour productivity also showed strong growth in unassisted firms, rising by 1.9% between 2009 and 2014 as the economy recovered from the recession and sales increased. While the result is lower than the established target, ACOA-assisted firms still outperformed the comparable group in terms of labour productivity growth by 0.3 percentage points. Both of these indicators suggest that the 2008-2009 economic downturn affected ACOA-assisted companies less severely and with fewer lasting consequences.

Results achieved:

Expected result Performance indicator 2016-17 Annual target Date to achieve target 2016-17 Actual result 2015-16 Actual result 2014-15 Actual result
Improved growth and competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian SMEs Percentage points by which the business survival rate of ACOA-assisted firms exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA 10 March 31, 2017 26 26 9
Percentage points by which the labour productivity growth of ACOA-assisted firms exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA 3 March 31, 2017 0.3 6.1 7.3

Budgetary financial resources:
(dollars)

2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned spending
2016-17
Total authorities available for use
2016-17
Actual spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
172,961,681 172,961,681 193,473,736 186,231,871 13,270,190

Human resources:
(Full-time equivalents [FTEs])

2016-17
Planned
2016-17
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
214 218 4

Community Development

Description:

The Atlantic economy is built on the region’s many geographic, linguistic and cultural communities. From rural areas to larger urban centres, the opportunities and challenges vary significantly. Communities are the foundation of economic development and are critical for economic prosperity. The Agency recognizes the importance of communities and supports their efforts to develop the resources they need to contribute fully to their economic development. For these reasons, the Agency focuses community development efforts and strategies to create dynamic and sustainable communities with increased economic and business activities as well as quality public infrastructure. The Agency develops and delivers programming that meets the unique economic development needs of rural areas in Atlantic Canada and that contributes to a stronger region. The Agency collaborates with the private sector, other levels of government, other federal government departments, educational institutions, non-profit organizations and communities to leverage support, coordinate economic development, identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities and react to economic challenges across the region. This requires a flexible approach based on the realities of a given community’s capacities, strengths and challenges.

Results:

In 2016-17, ACOA worked closely with communities, community economic development networks, and provincial and municipal governments to stimulate the economic development of Atlantic Canada’s rural and urban areas. A total of 96% of projects achieved their expected results, which exceeds the target of 80%. For urban communities, the Agency supports emerging, knowledge-based sectors, and partners with local organizations to attract and retain immigrants. It also provides assistance to young entrepreneurs who are building their skills and business capacity with the help of organizations that provide seed funding and advice. In rural areas, businesses accessed essential investment capital, business counselling and skills development through the Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs), and investments made in strategic sectors such as tourism and resource-based industries address the needs of communities that are vulnerable to the out-migration of skilled workers and an aging population.

The Agency supported the vitality and growth of Indigenous communities by working closely with Indigenous leadership, Atlantic provincial governments, and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in support of Indigenous economic development. In 2016-17, ACOA supported 43 projects, with contributions of more than $5.6 million for Indigenous economic development.

The Agency approved over $13.5 million in funding to support the CBDC network. An indicator of the CBDCs’ contribution to community development is the survival rate of firms they assist. The five-year business survival rate of CBDC-assisted firms is notably higher than that of comparable firms that were not assisted by the CBDCs: 72% after the crucial fifth year following start-up, compared to 48% for comparable firms not assisted by the CBDCs. This represents a variance of 24 percentage points, which is well above the Agency’s target of 10 percentage points.[1]

The Agency continued to engage with official language minority communities and provided $15.9 million in assistance for 109 projects throughout Atlantic Canada, including projects under the Economic Development Initiative of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities.

Results achieved:

Expected result Performance indicator 2016-17 Annual target Date to achieve target 2016-17 Actual result 2015-16 Actual result 2014-15 Actual result
Dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada with increased economic and business activity Percentage of Community Development (CD) projects that met expectations, thus contributing to the CD expected result 80% March 31, 2017 96% 96% 91%
Percentage points by which the business survival rate of CBDC-assisted clients exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by CBDCs 10 March 31, 2017 24 24 24

Budgetary financial resources:
(dollars)

2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned spending
2016-17
Total authorities available for use
2016-17
Actual spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
97,704,593 97,704,593 106,882,129 106,813,633 9,109,040

Human resources:
(FTEs)

2016-17
Planned
2016-17
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
101 102 1

Policy, Advocacy and Coordination

Description:

The Agency’s Policy, Advocacy and Coordination (PAC) program is central to identifying and effectively responding to opportunities and challenges facing the regional economy. PAC provides intelligence, analysis and well-grounded advice on a broad range of issues and topics, and it informs and supports Agency and ministerial decision making. PAC helps carry the Agency’s agenda forward and ensure that ACOA overall remains relevant and responsive to the opportunities and challenges in Atlantic Canada by offering strategic, researched policy positions that reflect the region’s potential, by influencing national policies and programs that affect Atlantic Canada’s development and interests, and by coordinating other policies and programs within the region to form integrated approaches to development.

Results:

In 2016-17, the Agency continued to play a critical role in delivering on the federal agenda and reflecting the government’s national priorities in Atlantic Canada. ACOA conducted policy research and analysis and provided sound policy advice and advocacy. All PAC activities undertaken met their objectives, thus contributing to expected results.

The research and analysis undertaken was focused on the opportunities and challenges related to key areas of interest for the region’s economy, such as clean and renewable energy, high-growth firms, demographics, community economic development, innovation, and trade.

ACOA’s policy efforts have contributed to shaping the policy framework around the Atlantic Growth Strategy and the regional economic development agencies’ contribution to the federal Innovation and Skills Plan. ACOA’s efforts have contributed to making the Atlantic Growth Strategy an inclusive, pan-Atlantic, whole-of-government approach – particularly in the areas of innovation, trade and investment, clean tech, and resource industries. The Agency collaborates with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and provincial governments to support the implementation of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot.

The Agency has well-established relationships across government that are instrumental in its strategic advocacy work, ensuring that the Atlantic region’s interests were considered in federal decision making and that regional stakeholders were informed of federal government actions and of opportunities relevant to the region. The Agency worked to help Atlantic Canadian SMEs improve innovation and commercialization outcomes and position themselves to seize opportunities related to free trade agreements and national strategies to expand and develop new international markets. ACOA also supported the continued transformation of the region’s natural resource sectors, advocating for regional interests in national programming. The Agency’s advocacy efforts leveraged industrial benefits for Atlantic Canadian SMEs from defence and Canadian Coast Guard procurements.

In its coordination role, the Agency worked with other federal departments, the four Atlantic Provinces and other stakeholders to improve the climate for business and to capitalize on growth opportunities in the region.

In particular, ACOA has worked closely with central agencies and other government partners to ensure that the Atlantic Growth Strategy harnesses the region’s assets, identifies shared economic priorities and ensures collaboration on the design and implementation of actions, while engaging with stakeholders in the region, including Indigenous leaders, and reporting publicly on results.

Results achieved:

Expected result Performance indicator 2016-17 Annual target Date to achieve target 2016-17 Actual result 2015-16 Actual result 2014-15 Actual result
Policies and programs that strengthen the Atlantic economy Percentage of Policy, Advocacy and Coordination (PAC) activities that have met their objectives, thus contributing to the PAC expected result 75% March 31, 2017 100% 100% 100%

Budgetary financial resources:
(dollars)

2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned spending
2016-17
Total authorities available for use
2016-17
Actual spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
11,740,443 11,740,443 11,746,750 14,638,541 2,898,098

Human resources:
(FTEs)

2016-17
Planned
2016-17
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
68 67 (1)

 

Supporting information on results achieved, budgetary financial resources and human resources for ACOA’s lower-level programs is available in the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat’s InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description:

Internal services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not those provided to a specific program. The groups of activities are Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.

Results:

ACOA pursued the implementation of transformational and organizational initiatives to strengthen and improve its capacity to deliver excellent programs and services, and sought opportunities for increased collaboration within the Agency as well as within the broader government context.

For example, ACOA actively supported the implementation of Phoenix, Public Services and Procurement Canada’s new pay and benefits software application. The Agency also continued to work collaboratively with other agencies and departments on the creation of a common grants and contributions program management system.

To align with and support the Clerk of the Privy Council’s Blueprint 2020 priorities – respectful workplaces; recruitment and onboarding; and public service renewal – the Agency continued to maintain a strong focus on Blueprint 2020 that fostered employee dialogue and involvement by encouraging new ideas and embracing a culture of innovation, collaboration and engagement. In support of the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy, the Agency established a pan-Atlantic mental health working group, which was tasked with identifying promising practices and opportunities to anchor the development of an action plan for 2017 through 2020. The Agency continued to focus on reinvigorating its recruitment efforts while integrating the Public Service Commission’s new approach to staffing. Efforts were maintained to support career and leadership development and empowerment, and to build and maintain a healthy, respectful and supportive workplace to ensure the continuous provision of high-quality service to Canadians now and in the future.

The Agency promoted and strengthened risk management capacity and culture within the organization by ensuring the integration of risk management into its planning and decision-making processes along with the provision of strategic advice. A new streamlined process for the review of risk management action plans was also developed.

The Agency collectively focused on addressing the results and delivery agenda, providing strategic input in support of the development and implementation of the Policy on Results, and implementing its five-year evaluation plan.

To support the Government of Canada’s plan for an open and fair government, the Agency implemented Year 1 requirements of the Open Government Implementation Plan, which included the publication of a data inventory and new data sets on the Government of Canada Open Data Portal.

The Agency continued to implement its Values and Ethics Strategy, ensuring that values and ethics remain at the foundation of its corporate culture and to promote open dialogue at all levels of the organization with activities that foster a culture of civility and respect in the workplace. The Agency also followed sound financial and human resources management practices in administrating the Agency’s resources.

Budgetary financial resources: (dollars)

2016-17
Main Estimates
2016-17
Planned spending
2016-17
Total authorities available for use
2016-17
Actual spending (authorities used)
Difference
(actual minus planned)
25,790,487 25,790,487 25,746,944 24,681,457 (1,109,030)

Human resources:
(FTEs)

2016-17
Planned
2016-17
Actual
Difference
(actual minus planned)
207 195 (12)

 

[1] Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Data Development and Economic Research, 2017.

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