Atlantic Growth Strategy Maps Atlantic Canada’s Clean Energy Future

News release

Ministers and Atlantic premiers commit to collaboration on a clean energy future

March 1, 2019 – Halifax, Nova Scotia – Governments of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces

Sustained economic growth in Atlantic Canada requires strong federal-provincial collaboration. The Atlantic Growth Strategy – an initiative of both levels of government – is helping to map the region’s clean energy future and develop more sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity for all Atlantic Canadians.

With these goals in mind, federal ministers, Atlantic premiers and Minister Thompson met today in Halifax, Nova Scotia, to discuss the positive impact of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. They also agreed on areas of co-operation to continue to create good-paying jobs for the middle class. In addition to clean energy, discussions included growing the region’s food industry, pursuing regulatory alignment, and addressing persistent skills gaps.


Building on the recent Council of Atlantic Premiers’ and First Ministers’ meetings, the Leadership Committee discussed the importance of clean power to Atlantic Canada’s economy and the livelihoods of Atlantic Canadians. They agreed on the need to produce and use more clean power in the region, while ensuring that electricity remains both reliable and affordable for all businesses and households across Atlantic Canada. They also stressed the importance of all jurisdictions working together to improve transmission networks and better integrate markets. Atlantic Canada is well positioned to be a key player in this move toward cleaner energy and it is important that we have access to a broad range of energy sources.

Recognizing the importance of regional collaboration, for the first time in history, governments agreed to develop a Clean Power Roadmap for Atlantic Canada. The roadmap will outline a collective vision for how jurisdictions can collaborate over the coming decades to build a clean power network across the region by creating a system-wide plan that will provide economic and environmental benefits. It will inform how governments invest in electricity infrastructure across the region. This includes transmission interconnections, next-generation renewable energy technologies such as tidal energy, smart grids and energy storage, and electric vehicle charging networks — all areas where governments are continuing to invest. The development of the roadmap will be overseen by an Atlantic Clean Power Planning Committee, consisting of senior officials, working with utilities.


Laying the groundwork for growth in several industries, including food and transportation, ministers and premiers agreed to continue their collaboration on regulatory efficiency in the region. Federal, provincial and territorial officials are developing a process to assess whether provincial and territorial food inspection systems are equivalent to, or exceed, federal standards. This work is on track, with the goal of completing the framework for the assessment this summer.


Atlantic Canada’s food industry is one of the region’s largest economic engines. In 2017, Atlantic Canada exported more than $6.1 billion in food and seafood to markets worldwide, an increase of close to 8 per cent since 2015. Today, ministers and premiers announced a commitment to work with Atlantic Canada’s seafood, food and food-processing industries to achieve higher growth and help companies seize more export and growth opportunities.


The region is attracting more newcomers and their families. Since the launch of the Atlantic Immigration Pilot, employers in Atlantic Canada have made more than 3,700 job offers to skilled workers. To maintain this momentum, Minister Hussen today announced an extension of the program to December 2021 and strategic program changes that will increase the number of eligible applicants from key populations, give Atlantic provinces greater flexibility to respond to their labour needs, including in the health care sector, and ensure all foreign nationals arriving under this program can permanently settle in the region.


Understanding that continued collaboration is required for long-term success, both levels of government reaffirmed their strong commitment to work together to build on the initiatives that are already producing real results for Atlantic Canadians. The Committee also agreed on the importance of pursuing new, targeted actions to stimulate the region’s economy.


“On behalf of my federal colleagues on the leadership committee, we are encouraged by the Atlantic Growth Strategy’s results-to-date. Almost three years in, the Strategy demonstrates that we are more innovative and effective in growing the economy when we work together. Continued collaboration is key to sustaining this momentum. I look forward to watching the region’s continued growth.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“I’m pleased with the success we are seeing with the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The Atlantic Immigration Pilot helped lift our immigration totals to a new high last year, while continued regulatory alignment is making it easier to do business in Atlantic Canada. I look forward to building on the strategy’s success as we chart a clean energy future for our region.”
– The Honourable Stephen McNeil, Premier of Nova Scotia

“As a proud Atlantic Canadian and co-lead of our leadership committee, I see a bright economic future for the region as we continue to work collaboratively with provinces on the Strategy. Our clean energy goals and the creation of sustained economic growth across the region will require ongoing cooperation and hard work from all Atlantic Canadians, and I look forward to being a part of this work in the months and years to come.”  
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

“Canada and the Atlantic provinces are creating a low-carbon future powered by clean energy. There is a strong foundation of federal-provincial partnership in Atlantic Canada. We look forward to continuing this collaboration to find clean energy solutions to meet the region’s electricity needs.”
-The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources

“Since 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Pilot has been very successful in attracting skilled immigrants to the Atlantic region. IRCC and the Atlantic provinces have worked very hard and will continue to do so to ensure the pilot can address the unique labour and demographic challenges of the region. Extending the pilot for an additional two years will help us respond to these challenges.”
– The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“The Atlantic food industry comprises nearly 20,000 businesses and is one of the region’s largest economic engines. Through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, we are growing the food industry in Atlantic Canada by working together with industry and by identifying food companies that have the greatest potential to grow their exports, with targeted support.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“The Atlantic Growth Strategy is working for rural Atlantic Canadians. Broadband, in particular, continues to be a rural priority to create jobs, fuel economic opportunity and improve quality of life in rural areas. This year we will continue to connect more than 130 rural and remote communities in Atlantic Canada thanks to the national Connect to Innovate program.”
– The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“The Atlantic Provinces are strongest when they work together. By cooperating through the Atlantic Growth Strategy, and on programs such as the Atlantic Immigration Pilot – which directly addresses the unique economic, social and geographic challenges in Atlantic Canada – the Provinces and the federal government are able to give our communities and businesses more opportunities to take on the world, and to thrive here at home.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services

“The Atlantic Canadians are proud to see the results of our government’s efforts through the Atlantic Growth Strategy and are excited about our region’s prospects. When I travel across Atlantic Canada, I see people taking advantage of the various initiatives and investments under the Strategy to help build a vibrant economic future for everyone.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health

“Prince Edward Island is leading the region and the nation in economic growth. The Atlantic Growth Strategy advances matters that are of priority for the region and for our individual provinces. The discussions we had today on energy, improved immigration programs and expanding the food industry to accelerate job growth will help transform our shared vision of a prosperous Atlantic Canada into reality.”
– The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island

“Working together, we can maximize our clean energy resources by pursuing the extraordinary opportunity to establish a clean power superhighway across Atlantic Canada.  Creating reliable, efficient, and coordinated transmission of energy in this region holds great potential for new jobs, economic growth, and the achievement of environmental goals, and I am committed to partnerships with fellow Premiers and the Federal Government to advance this work.”
– The Honourable Dwight Ball, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“The Atlantic provinces face similar challenges, and we believe the Atlantic Growth Strategy can help us grow the region’s private sector economy. We want to work collaboratively with the federal government to ensure that federal policies align with our provinces’ objectives and support economic growth across the region.”
– The Honourable Greg Thompson, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick

Quick facts

  • Atlantic Canada has made important strides to enhance the generation, transmission and use of clean electricity in the region. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick are on track to reduce their emissions by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Continued regional collaboration will be key to maintaining Atlantic Canada’s leadership in the production and use of clean electricity.

  • Atlantic Canada has abundant energy resources, many of which align with the growing need for clean, reliable and renewable sources, which need to be maximized for the betterment of the region. Significant government and industry investments have been made in clean energy and electrification in recent years. These include a $35.66 million federal investment towards an overall investment of $92.7 million in a smart grid project with NB Power, NS Power and Siemens; a $4.3 million project with Emera to develop smart grid expertise and infrastructure at the University of New Brunswick; and a $30 million investment in a large-scale tidal energy project in Nova Scotia led by Halagonia Tidal Energy Ltd.

  • From 2016 to present, Atlantic Canada’s network has grown by an additional 20 electric vehicle fast-chargers for a total of 52.

  • Employment in Atlantic Canada is on the rise. According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, the Atlantic economy created 18,400 jobs between July 2017 and December 2018. During this period, employment in the region grew by 1.7%, slightly below the national average of 2.0%.

  • Between January and October 2018, the value of Atlantic Canadian domestic exports grew 34.5% over the same period in 2016. The Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement (ATIGA), launched in July 2017, supported 23 trade missions with an estimated 415 businesses and organizations to markets like Europe and the United States.

  • Immigration is reaching record levels. Since July 2016, Atlantic Canada has welcomed more than 21,000 newcomers and their families who want to contribute to the region’s success. 

  • Atlantic Canadian universities and colleges continue to attract high numbers of international students. The regional roll out of the Study and Stay program, announced in July, is now underway in all four Atlantic Provinces; it is exceeding targets and is on track to meet the goal of 540 participating students over three years.

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Associated links


Dani Keenan
Office of the Honourable Navdeep Bains,
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Vincent Hughes
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc,
Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade

Vanessa Adams
Office of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi
Minister of Natural Resources

Mathieu Genest
Office of the Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada

Katie Hawkins
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Emilie Simard  
Office of the Honourable Bernadette Jordan
Minister of Rural Economic Development

Rachel Rappaport
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services

Thierry Bélair
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health    

David Jackson
Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia
Tel: 902-424-3882

Mary Moszynski
Office of the Premier of Prince Edward Island

Erin Sulley
Office of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

Robert Duguay
Office of the Premier of New Brunswick

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