Ministerial Transition Book 2019

Section 1 – Who we are


ACOA at a glance

Objective: To support and promote opportunity for economic development of Atlantic Canada, with emphasis on small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).


Map of Altantic Canada

Legislated mandate: To increase opportunity for economic development in Atlantic Canada and, more particularly, to enhance the growth of earned income and employment opportunities.

  • Assisted approximately 1500 businesses since 2015
  • Planned investments of $275.1M in 2019-20 (Gs & Cs)
  • 28 service points across Atlantic Canada

Supports the government’s economic priorities:

  • Targeted, integrated place-based approach
  • Delivers programs to firms and communities
  • Advocates for the interests of the region
  • Supports federal-provincial collaboration
  • Provides intelligence on the Atlantic economy to various federal institutions

Support is provided through:

  • Flexible tools and programs
  • Repayable contributions to businesses
  • Non-repayable contributions to community and support organizations
  • Convening and pathfinding


ACOA is one of six Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) across Canada that work to fuel economic growth.

Key intervention areas of RDAs:

Since 1987, ACOA has supported and promoted economic development opportunities in Atlantic Canada:

ACOA continues to work with partners and stakeholders to create opportunities, address unique regional challenges, and build a foundation for a sustainable, prosperous future.

Organizational structure

Organizational structure
Long description

The image depicts ACOA's organizational structure.

The top box, with a photograph of Francis P. McGuire, includes the text “ACOA President, Francis P. McGuire”. Lines connect the top box with three groups of boxes.

One line points to a single box with the text “Legal Services, Christine Calvé”.

One line points to three boxes with the note “Head Office in Moncton, New Brunswick, with a small Ottawa presence”; the following text appears in each of the three boxes: “VP Policy, Programs and Communications, Daryell Nowlan, Champion for Immigration, Access to Nat’l Programs”; “VP, Finance and Corporate Services, Stéphane Lagacé, Chief Financial Officer”; and “Senior Advisor (Energy), Andrew Noseworthy (St. John’s, NL), Champion for Clean growth”. A line from the box “VP Policy, Programs and Communications, Daryell Nowlan, Champion for Immigration, Access to Nat’l Programs” connects to a box with the following note: “Ottawa office: Advocates for Atlantic Canada’s interests; Is the principal day-to-day conduit between the Minister’s Office and ACOA”.

One line points to four boxes with the note “Regional and local delivery offices are throughout the region”; the following text appears in each of the four boxes: “VP NL, Bill Grandy (acting), Champion for Ocean, Program simplification”; “VP NB, Kent Estabrooks, Champion for Advanced manufacturing”; “VP NS, Chuck Maillet, Champion for Start-up ecosystem, Indigenous”; .and “VP PEI & Tourism, Patrick Dorsey, Champion for Food, Tourism”.

ACOA’s current action areas

ACOA's current action areas
Long description

The image depicts ACOA’s current action areas.

At the centre is a circle with the words “Focus – Our Clients”.

The following 10 elements are positioned in a circle around the words “Focus – Our Clients”.

  • Advanced Manufacturing / Kent Estabrooks, VP, New Brunswick / Businesses and educational institutions are changing how they think about manufacturing.
  • Clean Growth / Andrew Noseworthy, Special Advisor, Energy and Strategic Initiatives / SMEs are developing and adopting clean growth practices to reduce their environmental footprint.
  • Startup Ecosystem / Chuck Maillet, VP, Nova Scotia / Founders have the tools and support they need to start and scale their companies.
  • National Programs / Daryell Nowlan, VP, Policy, Programs and Communications / Investments from national programs foster the growth of Atlantic Canadian businesses, organizations and communities.
  • Program Simplification / TBD, VP, Newfoundland and Labrador / The client burden is minimal, as is the application processing time.
  • Indigenous Economic Development / Chuck Maillet, VP, Nova Scotia / Indigenous SMEs and communities efficiently leverage assets for economic benefit and growth.
  • Tourism / Pat Dorsey, VP, Prince Edward Island / Atlantic Canada is a year-round world-class destination for tourists.
  • Immigration / Daryell Nowlan, VP, Policy, Programs and Communications / Businesses and communities embrace new Canadians in meeting our region's skills and labour demands.
  • Food / Pat Dorsey, VP, Prince Edward Island / The Atlantic food sector’s value is maximized through competitive, export oriented, and appropriately supported SMEs.
  • Ocean / TBD, VP, Newfoundland and Labrador / SMEs are participating in the global blue economy and are reaping the benefits of Canada’s Ocean Supercluster.

Early Actions – Moving Forward

ACOA can help the government deliver on its priorities to catalyze growth.



Programs and Services

ACOA provides financial support to SMEs, communities and support organizations through provisionally repayable / repayable contributions as well as non repayable contributions.



Temporary Initiatives

ACOA also delivers short-term initiatives in Atlantic Canada on behalf of the Government of Canada.

Financial Information

Spending profile, transfer payments and human resources

Results and Impact

The region’s economy has grown over the years and momentum is building.

Section 2 - Your Attention Please…


Early Decision – Engage Fed. Ministers and Atlantic Premiers on the Atlantic Growth Strategy

The Atlantic Growth Strategy is a collaborative, results-driven and forward-looking approach to building a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada in a rapidly changing global environment.

You may wish to check with your federal colleagues first and then engage with provincial premiers to discuss next steps and a potential meeting of federal and provincial elected officials.

Early Decision – Canada Coal Transition Initiative

ACOA will support the government’s efforts to diversify the economy of communities impacted by a transition away from coal-fired electricity.

You may wish to engage with your colleagues for the ministerial approval process of the Initiative.

Early Action – Program Spending and Project Approvals

ACOA approves over 1,200 projects every year through a diligent and efficient process that mitigates the risks for the Agency.

We will set up meetings in the coming weeks to discuss your preferred approach for project approval.

Engagement Opportunities

Key engagement opportunities in the Atlantic region

In the next few weeks, you could be interested to engage with key stakeholders or participate in regional events.

Potential meetings with key stakeholders

Regional Events

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: