January 27, 2017


On July 4, 2016, the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces launched the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

With this Strategy, the two levels of government have committed to collaborate on a pan-Atlantic basis on targeted actions to stimulate the region’s economy, support both innovative and traditional industries, increase job opportunities for Atlantic Canadians and focus on persistent and emerging regional challenges.


Atlantic Canada possesses competitive advantages that bring new opportunities to economic growth. The region is home to great ideas, great products, great innovators, and a great drive to succeed.

The Government of Canada and the four Atlantic Provinces are working together to build a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada by focussing their efforts and resources to stimulate the region's economy, support the middle class and address both longstanding and emerging regional challenges.

This whole-of-government approach will harness the region's assets to strategically:

  • identify shared economic priorities and collaborate on the design and implementation of actions;
  • emphasize region-wide measures;
  • align actions with national and provincial priorities;
  • engage and consult with the region's stakeholders, entrepreneurs, as well as Indigenous, community and industry leaders; and
  • monitor progress and report publicly on results.

Five Pillars

The Atlantic Growth Strategy’s objective is to drive long-term economic growth in the Atlantic region by implementing targeted, evidence-based actions under the following five priority areas:

  • Skilled workforce/immigration – To enhance the region's capacity to develop, deploy and retain a skilled workforce by addressing labour market needs and making Atlantic Canada a destination of choice for immigrants while also supporting labour market participation for unemployed and underemployed Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, older workers, and persons with disabilities.
  • Innovation – To foster greater business innovation by supporting the scaling up of small firms, technology transfer, the commercialization of research, and the generation of breakthrough ideas in areas such as bioscience, aquaculture, ocean technology and renewable energy while spurring value-added opportunities in established industries.
  • Clean Growth and Climate Change – To stimulate economic growth, create clean jobs and drive innovation in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Trade and Investment – To expand business activities between Atlantic Canada and international markets, and strategically market the region as a whole by displaying the best Atlantic Canada has to offer the world to attract new investments and grow tourism.
  • Infrastructure – To invest in regionally significant infrastructure projects that support long-term growth in Atlantic Canada and position the region to capitalize on global trade opportunities by attracting investment and enhancing productivity.

Leadership Committee

Federal ministers and Atlantic premiers have formed a Leadership Committee to oversee the implementation of targeted actions, provide policy direction, review the broad range of factors that affect the Atlantic Canadian economy, and, ultimately, drive results that will lead to economic growth in the region. The Leadership Committee is composed of:

  • The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency,
  • The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • The Honourable Scott Brison, President of the Treasury Board
  • The Honourable Judy Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement
  • The Honourable Brian Gallant, Premier of New Brunswick
  • The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
  • The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
  • The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island
  • The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia

Advisory Group Chair

On January 27, 2017, federal ministers and Atlantic premiers announced the appointment of Henry E. Demone – Chairman of High Liner Foods Inc. – as the Chair of the new Atlantic Growth Advisory Group. The Advisory Group, which will be selected shortly, will support the efforts of the Leadership Committee by providing strategic advice on pan-Atlantic collaborative approaches and actions to advance the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

Two-Year Action Plan

On July 4, 2016, the Atlantic Leadership Committee unveiled a two-year action plan to guide both the short-term and long-term actions under the Atlantic Growth Strategy.

As a first area of action, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship announced a three-year immigration pilot project to admit up to 2,000 immigrants and accompanying families in 2017 to address the unique labour market challenges in Atlantic Canada.

Other early areas of collaborative action include the following:

  • Develop and implement initiatives to attract and retain international students in Atlantic Canada (e.g., mission to Asia with University Presidents).
  • Support business incubators and accelerators to help launch and grow new start-ups.
  • Develop an Atlantic multi-year international business development strategy.
  • Implement Phase 1 of Federal Infrastructure Plan, including the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

Benchmarking and Reporting

The Atlantic Growth Strategy is intended to drive economic development in Atlantic Canada by delivering concrete and measurable results in the five priority areas identified by federal ministers and Atlantic premiers.

Public reporting on results will begin with a report, including benchmarking, to be issued publicly in July 2017. A second report will be issued in July 2018.  

In the interim, regular public announcements will be made as joint areas of action are completed.

The Leadership Committee will next meet in summer 2017.

Learn more at Atlantic Growth Strategy.

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