2015-16 Report on Plans and Priorities
Section II: Analysis of Programs by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome: A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy

Performance Measurement:

Performance Indicator Five Year Target 2013-14 through 2017-18 Date to be Achieved
Increase of Atlantic Canada’s gross domestic product for every dollar of ACOA expenditure in direct support of business $4.50[i] March 31, 2018

A competitive Atlantic Canadian economy increases opportunities for economic development in the region, specifically through the growth of earned incomes and employment opportunities. Productivity is an important determinant of competitiveness and a strong source of long-term prosperity for a region. Competitiveness and productivity are critical factors that allow companies and communities to adapt to changing global conditions. The Agency supports and works with businesses and communities to help them become more competitive, innovative and productive, while identifying and responding to opportunities and challenges in the Atlantic Canadian economy.

Program 1.1: 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 (SMEs), 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 (R&D) capacity, commercialization and productivity; and promoting and participating in the region’s transition to a knowledge economy.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Main Estimates 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
171,221,612 171,221,612 169,937,144 172,757,770

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
227 227 227

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Improved growth and competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian SMEs Percentage points by which the labour productivity growth of ACOA-assisted firms exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA 0.3 March 31, 2016
Percentage points by which the business survival rate of ACOA-assisted firms exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA 10 March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

In 2015-16, the Agency will continue to assist businesses, industry sectors, post-secondary institutions and community-based organizations in Atlantic Canada to build on the region’s innovation capacity, productivity and overall competitiveness of its SMEs. This will be achieved through continued support of innovation and the commercialization of new products and services, developing international business opportunities and export markets, and fostering the entrepreneurial skills needed to drive economic growth.

With regard to innovation programming, the Agency’s new streamlined and targeted approach will better respond to the needs of businesses and researchers. ACOA’s investments in innovation will encourage the following: product development; new products and services marketing; the adoption and adaptation of technology to increase productivity; and increased skills, technology and market knowledge to help businesses become more competitive. ACOA’s investments will contribute to leveraging funds from the private sector and other sources toward innovation projects, encourage the development of partnerships for technology development, and increase revenues from the commercialization of products and services.

In the area of international business development, ACOA will further develop Atlantic Canadian companies’ international business capabilities by helping them to acquire the tools and support they need to access and succeed in international markets. ACOA will continue to assist businesses and industries to explore international business opportunities outlined in the Global Markets Action Plan, the Canada-European Union (EU) Trade Agreement, and other existing and future trade agreements. Efforts will also continue to promote Atlantic Canada as a profitable place to do business.

ACOA will continue to support productivity and growth initiatives that provide information, financing and business skills development opportunities to enable Atlantic Canadians to start and grow businesses, innovate and become more productive. This includes continued investments in lean manufacturing initiatives, firm expansion and modernization, commercial and non-commercial investments to expand tourism, and support for SMEs to capitalize on major planned projects in Atlantic Canada.

Sub-Program 1.1.1: Innovation and Commercialization

Description:

Raising the levels of research and development and of innovation in the region is fundamental to increasing Atlantic Canada’s competitiveness and to closing the productivity gap with the rest of the country. The Agency invests in innovation and commercialization by supporting the research and development of new products, services and processes, and their commercialization in the marketplace. As well, the Agency provides support for the adoption and adaptation of leading-edge technologies in businesses. Clients include businesses and organizations such as universities and research institutes. This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payments: the Atlantic Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Business Development Program (BDP).

Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
93,129,829 91,652,785 94,150,990

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
84 84 84

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Strengthened innovation and commercialization capacity in Atlantic Canada Amount leveraged per dollar invested by ACOA in innovation projects $1.25 March 31, 2016
Number of key collaborators for technology development and commercialization through AIF projects TBD* During 2015‑16, the Agency will establish a new baseline. March 31, 2016
Four-year Target 2015-16 through 2018-19
Dollar amount of revenues resulting from commercialization $150,000,000 March 31, 2019

*As a result of changes to the AIF application process and to the scope and nature of desired AIF projects, past baseline information became an unreliable source for determining future targets. Results obtained in 2015-16 will help establish a new baseline.

Planning Highlights:

ACOA has been at the forefront of innovation programming in Atlantic Canada for several years now. In order to increase the competitiveness of Atlantic businesses, ACOA has revisited its innovation programming and will continue to transition to a new model in 2015-16. Through the AIF and the BDP, the Agency will strive to better serve and assist businesses, universities and research institutions.

ACOA will continue to foster an environment where innovation can help drive the Atlantic Canadian economy. By investing in innovation, the Agency will contribute to the region’s economic diversification, market expansion, and productivity and competitiveness enhancements.

ACOA’s investments will, among other things, contribute to leveraging funds from the private sector and other sources toward innovation projects; encourage the development of partnerships for technology development; and increase revenues from the commercialization of new technologies, products, processes and services.

The Agency will work to maximize the impact of its investments, particularly in sectors that are strategically important to the long-term success of the Atlantic region. It will continue to support regional innovation activities that improve the commercialization potential of technologies developed in Atlantic Canada, including in more traditional sectors such as forestry, with an initiative that will allow for the development of new products and techniques to intervene early in spruce budworm outbreaks in order to mitigate pest-related impacts on forest integrity, timber supply and industry productivity.

Sub-Program 1.1.2: Productivity and Growth

Description:

The Agency invests in productivity and growth to enhance Atlantic Canadians’ access to the information, business skills and financing they require to start and/or grow a business. This enables businesses to get established, become more productive and grow, which generates wealth and jobs in the economy. Investments in productivity and growth are made directly by helping businesses to increase competitiveness through activities such as productivity improvement, expansion, modernization, business skills development, training, hiring skilled personnel, and indirectly through contributions to non-profit organizations such as business and economic development associations that undertake activities that foster business productivity and growth. The Agency also administers Canada Business, which acts as a comprehensive source of information on government services, programs, regulations and resources for businesses. By reducing the complexity of dealing with various levels of government, Canada Business plays a role in the business development process. This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payment: the Business Development Program (BDP).

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
54,819,698 54,738,455 54,937,712

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
91 91 91

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Enhanced Atlantic Canadian SMEs’ productivity and growth capacity Percentage points by which the growth in sales of ACOA-assisted firms exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by ACOA 0.5 March 31, 2016
Percentage of participants in business skills development activities indicating that the activity improved their business skills 85% March 31, 2016
Amount leveraged per dollar invested by ACOA in commercial productivity and growth projects $2.00 March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

ACOA will continue to ensure that Atlantic Canadians have access to opportunities to secure the financing and support they need to start or grow their businesses and become more productive. Productivity is about how firms invest in and combine resources such as labour, skills, raw materials and capital equipment to produce goods and services. This is of critical importance to the Atlantic Canadian economy since increases in productivity allow businesses to raise their competitiveness and lead to more efficient production, increased value, higher incomes and, ultimately, enhanced living standards.

The Agency will invest in projects that assist SMEs in hiring skilled personnel to help them address specific business challenges, in modernizing their operations through the adoption of technology, and in incorporating continuous improvement initiatives so they can increase their competitiveness. In addition, ACOA will continue to support SMEs to enable them to capitalize on opportunities arising from planned major projects in Atlantic Canada.

ACOA will continue to provide funding to non-commercial entities such as business support organizations and educational institutions that, in turn, undertake activities that enable existing and future entrepreneurs to develop the business and management skills they need to start a business, enhance productivity and improve capacity for growth. These activities will focus on areas such as counselling, mentoring and training to foster entrepreneurship and growth-oriented firms.

The Agency will also ensure that Atlantic Canadians have continued access to timely and accurate business information via Canada Business, including information on federal and provincial government programs and resources for business.

Sub-Program 1.1.3: International Business Development

Description:

Canada’s Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP) identifies global value chains and new economic forces as offering opportunities while recognizing increased competition for Canada. To strengthen the country’s position in international markets, the strategy prescribes taking advantage of emerging global opportunities and reinforcing Canada’s image internationally as a preferred business partner and premier investment destination. Consistent with this strategy, the Agency pursues international opportunities with a view to increasing the number of exporters and the volume of export sales, to attracting foreign direct investment and to supporting the international commercialization of technology. Further, the Agency promotes Atlantic Canada abroad as a world leader in energy production, export and research, as a centre of innovation, as a skilled labour pool, as a reliable supplier of quality products at competitive prices and as the gateway to the North American market. The Agency also plays a role in coordinating the efforts of federal, provincial and private-sector organizations in Atlantic Canada in pursuing international business opportunities. Clients include businesses, non-profit organizations, learning and research institutions, and provincial governments. This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payment: the Business Development Program (BDP).

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
23,272,085 23,545,904 23,669,068

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
52 52 52

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Expanded export activity by SMEs in Atlantic Canada Percentage of commercial International Business Development projects that meet expectations, thus contributing to expanded export activity 75% March 31, 2016
Percentage of SMEs that expand their international sales within 12 months of participating in an International Business Development activity 50% March 31, 2016
New foreign direct investment opportunities in Atlantic Canada Number of foreign direct investment transactions completed (deals closed) where ACOA’s support contributed to bringing the project to fruition 5 March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

ACOA will continue to align itself with Government of Canada priorities, including the GMAP, the Americas Strategy and the International Education Strategy, by providing Atlantic Canadian businesses with the tools, access and support they need to succeed in global markets and by promoting Atlantic Canada. ACOA will help Atlantic Canadian exporters take full advantage of recently signed free trade agreements such as the Canada-EU Trade Agreement and the Canada-Korea Free Trade Agreement. It will also work with its partners to identify new opportunities in terms of sectors, markets and strategies; with universities and research institutions to support commercialization efforts; and with other funding partners to reduce the administrative burden and increase customer service.

Exporting remains one of the nation’s leading engines of economic growth. It builds revenues, fuels business growth and generates jobs. Given the region’s small domestic market, international business is a significant contributor to its economy. The Agency contributes to the region’s performance by strengthening the capabilities of SMEs, helping them to enter global markets and fostering their international business results. Other initiatives include identifying and nurturing industry sectors with high export potential and exploring and developing opportunities in emerging markets.

The overall objective of this sub-program is to increase the international business activity of SMEs and the region. ACOA will achieve this by exposing sectors and companies to international market opportunities and ensuring they are well prepared; developing long-term strategies and implementation plans for markets abroad; making available key stakeholders’ intelligence, contacts and opportunities; and supporting business activities that lead to increased sales for SMEs. Efforts to promote the region as a profitable place to do business will continue through international business development missions, website marketing and participation in key industry conferences, and by hosting familiarization tours and organizing outreach events. The Agency will work with SMEs striving to commercialize their innovative technologies or processes by identifying potential partners with whom to collaborate in their research or market expansion.

Program 1.2: 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.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Main Estimates 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
89,727,582 89,727,582 89,368,367 88,353,094

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
101 101 101

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Dynamic and sustainable communities in Atlantic Canada with increased economic and business activity Percentage points by which the business survival rate of CBDC-assisted clients exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by CBDCs 10 March 31, 2016
Percentage of Community Development (CD) projects that met expectations, thus contributing to the CD expected result 80% March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

ACOA will continue to work with communities, community economic development networks, and provincial and municipal governments to stimulate economic development benefiting the region’s rural and urban areas. This will involve investing in initiatives that are well aligned with the economic priorities and distinct needs of the various communities throughout Atlantic Canada.

To stimulate economic development at the community level, ACOA uses its suite of programs, in particular the Innovative Communities Fund, the Community Futures Program and the Business Development Program. Through these funding mechanisms, the Agency will make strategic investments to revitalize the communities in which it operates and to improve the productivity and competitiveness of Atlantic Canadian SMEs. The Agency’s focus in the area of community infrastructure will be to support projects that enhance economic opportunities. In addition, ACOA will collaborate with Infrastructure Canada on the continued delivery of infrastructure programs.

ACOA will continue to support community-based business development organizations such as Canada Business Development Corporations by providing them with investments and tools essential to build strong communities.

Furthermore, ACOA will build on its relationship with Atlantic Canada’s official language minority communities in implementing the Economic Development Initiative, which is part of the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities. It will also work with Aboriginal stakeholders to identify investments that support strategic economic development for Aboriginal communities.

Finally, the Agency will strive to grow the tourism industry’s contribution to the region’s gross domestic product by strengthening partnerships between the private and public sectors so that strategic investments contribute to increased profitability, sustainability and wages.

Sub-Program 1.2.1: Community Investment

Description:

To be sustainable and to grow, communities must take responsibility for their own economic development future. They must have the capacity and resources available to them at a local level to lead the community development process as well as to invest in those initiatives that stimulate their economic development. These communities include geographic communities and communities of interest such as industry sectors, non-profit organizations and Aboriginal and francophone organizations. The Agency works with these communities, assisting them to develop their own vision for economic growth through targeted planning and by making strategic investments toward increasing the human capacity present in the community, including skills development, training and coordination, as well as the physical capacity (i.e. community infrastructure). This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payments: the Innovative Communities Fund (ICF) and the Business Development Program (BDP).

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
71,797,962 71,564,806 70,549,533

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
84 84 84

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Communities respond to economic and business development opportunities and challenges Amount leveraged per dollar invested by ACOA in Community Investment projects $1.50 March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

The economic vitality of a region is influenced by its capacity to respond to local and global economic opportunities and challenges. Under its Community Investment programming, the Agency contributes to the economic development of mainly rural communities in Atlantic Canada by supporting initiatives that assist them in building their capacity to respond to these opportunities and challenges. This includes supporting critical infrastructure that fosters a milieu for businesses to develop and grow while offering necessary amenities to communities. It also entails leveraging capital investments in sector growth initiatives that help expand the regional economy. In 2015‑16, the Agency will continue to encourage partnerships between communities, provinces and stakeholders at the local level and build on the economic development capacity of communities to identify and address the strategic and emerging opportunities in the region.

Through the ICF, the Agency will continue to promote investments that have an economic impact in Atlantic Canadian communities. These investments will have a particular focus on growing key priority sectors as well as in contributing to the realization of strategic community infrastructure projects.

ACOA will continue to engage with its various partners, including provincial and municipal governments, to maximize potential investments that will benefit Atlantic communities. The amount leveraged per dollar invested by ACOA will demonstrate that communities are pulling together the necessary resources to realize higher economic impact projects while engaging key stakeholders.

ACOA’s Strategic Tourism Expansion Program will increase the competitiveness of tourism in rural communities by guiding them through the process of building and executing a strategic and sustainable tourism action plan.

By engaging with official language minority communities through its many networks and points of service, ACOA will identify investments that will enhance the vitality of those communities via its regular programs as well as through the delivery of the Economic Development Initiative under the Roadmap for Canada’s Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities.

The Agency will pursue its collaboration with Aboriginal organizations to identify investments that will strengthen Aboriginal entrepreneurs and the competitiveness of their businesses.

It will also pursue its close co-operation with Infrastructure Canada in the administration of the Building Canada Fund – Communities Component.

Sub-Program 1.2.2: Community-based Business Development

Description:

The lack of business capital available in rural regions of Canada has the potential to be a significant economic development barrier. It impedes the establishment and expansion of small businesses in rural areas that are essential to the vitality and sustainability of communities. The Agency provides targeted support to community-based non-profit organizations to address investment capital gaps that focus on small businesses. As such, the Agency provides contributions to a network of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) in Atlantic Canada that are run by community-based volunteer boards of directors. CBDCs provide an essential source of investment capital that focuses on small rural businesses as well as on other services that include business counselling and skills development. In addition, the Agency assists Aboriginal communities by improving access to capital for small and medium-sized Aboriginal businesses through the Ulnooweg Development Group. This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payments: the Community Futures (CF) program, the Innovative Communities Fund (ICF), and the Business Development Program (BDP).

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
17,929,620 17,803,561 17,803,561

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
17 17 17

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Strengthened and expanded businesses Percentage points by which the growth in sales of CBDC-assisted clients exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by CBDCs 5 March 31, 2016
Percentage points by which the employment growth of CBDC-assisted clients exceeds that of comparable firms not assisted by CBDCs 2 March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

In 2015-16, ACOA will continue investing in community-based business development organizations to ensure Atlantic Canadian businesses located in rural areas have access to the capital, the information and the counselling they need and that are essential to the vitality and sustainability of communities.

In keeping with recommendations resulting from the evaluation of this sub-program, approved in June 2014, the Agency will foster a collaborative results-based management approach to ensure value for money with organizations such as CBDCs. This would include the continuous improvement of the Community Futures of Tomorrow model as part of a collaborative joint oversight committee. The immediate impact of ACOA’s investments will be measured by the percentage of funding in business loans, the number of loans approved and the number of clients who have taken part in training or business counselling.

To help Atlantic Canadian businesses become more productive and competitive, the Agency will engage with stakeholders to look at ways to enhance the adoption, development and commercialization of new technologies by rural SMEs supported by CBDCs. In collaboration with these stakeholders, ACOA will encourage more lending in high-priority areas such as innovation, youth and first-time entrepreneurs.

ACOA will pursue its close collaboration with CBDCs to enhance their contribution in support of businesses with effective tools such as consultant advisory services as well as the provision of capital and business training targeting youth in urban areas.

Aboriginal communities remain one of ACOA’s areas of focus for community development. The Agency will continue to work to identify investments that support strategic priorities listed in the Federal Framework for Aboriginal Economic Development and the Atlantic Aboriginal Economy Building Strategy. Furthermore, work will continue to be undertaken to implement the new guidelines and procedures with respect to ACOA’s legal duty to consult with Aboriginal communities.

Program 1.3: 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.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Main Estimates 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
11,774,749 11,774,749 11,715,659 11,764,659

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
69 69 69

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Policies and programs that strengthen the Atlantic economy Percentage of PAC activities that have met their objectives, thus contributing to the PAC expected result 75% March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

In 2015-16, the Agency will continue to play a critical role in delivering on the federal agenda and reflecting national priorities in Atlantic Canada by conducting policy research and analysis and by providing sound policy advice. Research and analysis will focus on the opportunities and challenges related to the region’s economy such as demographics, community economic development, the Canada-EU Trade Agreement and trade with Asia. The Agency will also consider factors influencing the ability of SMEs to benefit from supply chain opportunities such as business skills, competitiveness, productivity, innovation and commercialization. Key industries such as services, bioscience, tourism, natural resources and energy will also be examined.

ACOA will advocate for Atlantic Canadian businesses in the design of federal policies, programs and investments. The Agency will work to help Atlantic Canadian SMEs position themselves to take advantage of opportunities related to major free trade agreements and federal strategies such as the GMAP. The Agency will also promote investment in the energy sector and advocate for policy and regulatory changes that could improve the investment environment for clean energy and for offshore oil and gas exploration. The Agency’s advocacy efforts also aim to secure industrial benefit commitments for Atlantic Canadian SMEs resulting from procurements within the Canada First Defence Strategy, and the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.

In its coordination role, the Agency will work with other federal departments, the four Atlantic Provinces and other stakeholders to capitalize on opportunities related to major projects in the region, such as the shipbuilding initiative. Under the leadership of the Atlantic Canada Energy Office, the Agency aims to facilitate the development of the region’s energy sector by fostering collaboration, common understanding and communication among the public and private sectors. ACOA will continue to work with other federal departments and agencies involved with tourism to develop and maintain an integrated and forward-looking federal tourism agenda. Finally, the Agency will help coordinate the work of federal departments in the region by leading the newly formed Atlantic Federal Council (AFC).

Sub-Program 1.3.1: Policy

Description:

Policy provides a solid base of understanding for the development of the Agency’s strategic priorities and initiatives, program design and input to national policy development and federal-provincial relations. This includes policy analysis and advice (including the development of policies and frameworks), economic analysis, research and stakeholder engagement. The policy function is carried out by officials at head office, in the regional offices and in the Ottawa office. The Agency’s policy work is supported in part by a dedicated Agency fund that contributes to building policy research capacity in Atlantic Canada. This sub-program uses funding from the following transfer payments: the Atlantic Policy Research Initiative (APRI) and the Business Development Program (BDP).

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
6,108,991 6,105,167 6,105,167

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
33 33 33

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Well-informed policy decisions reflecting opportunities and challenges of the Atlantic region’s economy while considering enterprise and community development potential Percentage of Policy activities that have met their objectives, thus contributing to the expected result 80% March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

ACOA will contribute to the development of a competitive Atlantic Canadian economy and support advocacy and coordination activities through its policy research, analysis and engagement activities, which provide the foundation for the development of strong policies and programs. The Agency’s Policy function plays a vital role in providing a better understanding of Atlantic Canada’s economic environment and of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the regional economy.

ACOA will conduct research and analysis on issues and trends in areas such as productivity, business skills, innovation and commercialization, community development and trade with Europe and Asia, and on major projects relating to energy, mining and shipbuilding. Policy efforts will also look at supply chain opportunities for Atlantic Canadian SMEs. The Agency will continue to undertake macroeconomic, microeconomic and fiscal analyses, with particular emphasis on Atlantic Canada’s demographic situation. Policy work will also include research and analysis to identify sub-regional economic data to inform decision making.

APRI is a primary tool for engaging with research partners and stakeholders. Agency efforts through APRI will lead to increased knowledge on priority areas that include the following: opportunities and challenges presented by the Canada-EU Trade Agreement; trade linkages with Asia; the impact of a transient workforce on communities; the relationship between industry and labour force supply and demand; and linkages between entrepreneurship and economic development.

The Agency will also pursue a number of engagement and outreach efforts with the federal and provincial governments, the private sector, industry associations and academic partners to ensure that SMEs are well positioned to capitalize on opportunities related to major projects and developments in international trade.

ACOA will continue to support the Agency’s president in his role as the chair of the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development’s Regional Development Policy Committee, the main international forum for the exchange of ideas in the field of regional policy.

Sub-Program 1.3.2: Advocacy

Description:

Federal decision-makers must understand and consider Atlantic Canada’s interests, and regional stakeholders must remain well-informed of federal government actions and of opportunities that are relevant to the economic interests of the region. The Agency’s advocacy activities aim to advance the region’s interests in national policy and program development. In the case of federal government procurement, particularly major Crown projects, the Agency advocates to leverage industrial benefits for Atlantic Canadian small and medium-sized businesses.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
3,956,303 3,903,067 3,952,067

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
19 19 19

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Atlantic enterprise and community development interests are considered in emerging and changing federal economic policies, programs and regulations Percentage of Advocacy activities that have met their objectives, thus contributing to the expected result 75% March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

In 2015-16, ACOA will continue to advocate for national policies and programs that encourage Atlantic Canadian businesses to become more innovative, productive and competitive in the global marketplace.

The Agency will work to identify opportunities flowing from international trade policies that will assist Atlantic Canadian businesses to expand their reach into new markets. This includes services that help SMEs to capitalize on broader access to markets arising from free trade agreements such as the Canada-EU Trade Agreement. It will also ensure its activities support national strategies such as the GMAP and the Americas Strategy.

ACOA will collaborate with federal departments to increase access for SMEs to national programs that provide opportunities to increase their competiveness. ACOA will strive to guide the design of federal policies, programs and investments to improve commercialization outcomes in the region, and will advocate for the importance and effectiveness of federal innovation programs and for the strengthening of the regional innovation ecosystem.

The Agency will encourage the sustainable transformation of Atlantic Canada’s natural resource sectors, focusing on opportunities to support new uses and markets for Atlantic Canada’s resources and the application of new technologies to increase the productivity of the natural resource sectors.

ACOA will help Atlantic Canadian SMEs position themselves to take advantage of opportunities related to the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Through the Atlantic Shipbuilding Action Plan, the Agency will work with public- and private-sector partners to deliver supplier development initiatives and provide opportunities for SMEs to engage with key stakeholders. ACOA will also continue to assist the development of the Atlantic Canadian aerospace and defence industry, seeking opportunities to maximize the economic impact of procurement related to the Canada First Defence Strategy.

The Agency will promote investment in Atlantic Canada’s energy sector, including policy and regulatory changes that could improve the environment for investment in offshore oil and gas exploration, and will support the development of Atlantic Canada’s clean energy assets.

ACOA will also advocate for efforts to address demographic challenges facing the region, including supporting skills development and immigration strategies that enhance productivity and respond to regional skills shortages.

Sub-Program 1.3.3: Coordination

Description:

The Agency is mandated by legislation to coordinate the policies and programs of the Government of Canada in relation to opportunities for economic development in Atlantic Canada. The coordination function engages a range of economic partners to address the economic priorities of Atlantic Canada through a coherent and collaborative approach to development, including federal-provincial initiatives, round tables and expert panels. The Agency coordinates with other federal departments on regional development efforts and through the Atlantic Federal Council (AFC) on Government of Canada priorities.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
1,709,455 1,707,425 1,707,425

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
17 17 17

Performance Measurement:

Expected Result Performance Indicator Annual Target 2015-16 Date to be Achieved
Coordination of partners in addressing the economic priorities of Atlantic Canada through a coherent approach to development Percentage of Coordination activities that have met their objectives, thus contributing to the expected result 75% March 31, 2016

Planning Highlights:

ACOA’s Coordination function will encourage partners to work together to address Atlantic Canada’s economic priorities and pursue a focused approach to economic development. This will help empower businesses to capitalize on emerging opportunities and address key challenges. ACOA will continue to work with the four Atlantic provincial governments to identify common goals and priorities, to facilitate joint research and coordinate the delivery of economic development programs and services as well as to support strategic Government of Canada objectives such as the Federal Tourism Strategy.

To help maintain a coordinated federal approach in the region, ACOA will continue to work with federal departments through the newly formed Atlantic Federal Council, which is chaired by the Agency’s President, Paul J. LeBlanc. In 2015-16, the council will continue to provide regional intelligence to central agencies and advance Government of Canada horizontal priorities within the region in priority areas, including the Blueprint 2020 vision, people management, emergency preparedness and official languages.

ACOA will continue to work with other federal departments and regional development agencies to align regional development policies with the Government of Canada’s priorities. Multi-level collaborations with provincial governments will continue on issues such as labour markets, skills and international business development.

The Atlantic Energy Gateway will pursue its engagement with key stakeholders such as federal departments, provincial governments, utilities and other actors in the energy sector. Areas of focus will include continued development of new and renewable energy and the development of natural gas in the region.

The Agency will collaborate with federal departments and provincial counterparts to address opportunities and challenges in both rural and urban areas in relation to developments in growing sectors and major projects. ACOA will continue to coordinate a number of engagement activities with researchers, universities and industries in the region, elsewhere in Canada and internationally.

Finally, ACOA will participate in various senior-level Government of Canada committees, both in Ottawa and in the Atlantic region, to facilitate collaboration between federal departments, contribute to a better understanding of Atlantic Canada, and lead to new opportunities in the region.

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.

Budgetary Financial Resources: (dollars)

2015-16 Main Estimates 2015-16 Planned Spending 2016-17 Planned Spending 2017-18 Planned Spending
25,861,046 25,861,046 25,837,379 25,837,199

Human Resources: (FTEs)

2015-16 2016-17 2017-18
201 201 201

Planning Highlights:

In the spirit of the vision and principles of Blueprint 2020, ACOA will continue to implement organizational initiatives that will strengthen and improve the Agency’s capacity to deliver excellent and efficient programs and services. The focus will continue to be on implementing common business processes that support the government’s transformation agenda of standard government solutions in areas such as human resources, information management, information technology and finance while maintaining an emphasis on cost containment and on reducing the growth rate in government spending. In addition, the Agency will build on its partnership with departments such as other regional development agencies and Shared Services Canada to explore opportunities for increased efficiency through collaboration. ACOA will continue to seek employee engagement in continuous business improvement (e.g. kaizen events) and will follow up on the 2014 Public Service Employee Survey results. It will also support employees and their development in order to enhance performance and productivity, thus ensuring the provision of high-quality service to Canadians now and in the future.

Evidence-based decision making, accountability and the continuous improvement of programs and services are supported by ACOA’s performance measurement and evaluation functions. To further these objectives, the Agency will ensure a robust performance measurement framework is in place and will continue to implement ACOA’s five-year evaluation plan.

ACOA will coordinate and lead its annual integrated planning process to ensure that its planning activities remain aligned with Government of Canada priorities and the Agency’s mandate and budgetary resources. The Agency will also ensure the integration of human resources, risk management, performance management and evaluation considerations into its planning and decision-making processes and will continue to implement its renewed security plan.

The Agency will implement its 2015-2018 Values and Ethics Strategy to ensure that values and ethics remain at the foundation of its corporate culture and will support open dialogue at all of its levels.

[i] Measuring the impact on GDP in Atlantic Canada is a long-term, multi-dimensional undertaking. Thus, the Agency reports results every five years based on an analysis of data from internal systems, using econometric modelling from The Conference Board of Canada. This indicator will next be measured in 2018, covering the five-year period 2013-14 through 2017-18.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: