Brilliant Labs to Prepare Youth for Technology Jobs of the Future  

News release

July 17, 2019 – Saint John, NB – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Preparing youth for the jobs of tomorrow is critical to growing the Atlantic Canadian economy. With support from the federal and provincial governments, Brilliant Labs is creating a workforce with digital skills, giving Atlantic Canadian businesses access to employees with the skills they need for the jobs of the future.

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, joined Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John-Rothesay, to announce support to help youth across Atlantic Canada develop digital skills. The Government of Canada, through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program (REGI) is contributing more than $1.6 million to the initiative, while the Provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador are providing a combined contribution of more than $1 million.

This project supports the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, a plan that focuses on people and making Canada a world-leading economy now and into the future.

Support for this project will grow the economy because it provides young people with the education they need to thrive in a technologically advanced world. It will help create a skilled workforce, which is essential for businesses to grow and compete on a global level. Projects like this also contribute to the Atlantic Growth Strategy outcome of long-term economic prosperity in the region.

Minister Duncan made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).


“By supporting Brilliant Labs in its delivery of this pan-Atlantic project, we are enabling youth across Atlantic Canada to develop the expertise they need to succeed in tomorrow’s digital future. This is all part of our government’s plan to create good jobs and grow the economy.”

–    The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport 

“Providing our youth with the opportunity to develop a wide array of digital skills is vital to the economic success of Atlantic Canada. As part of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan, we are helping to maximize the potential of people, businesses, and communities in every corner of the country.”

–    The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Saint John has a child poverty rate that is nearly double the national rate. To me, this is completely unacceptable; this is why I am incredibly proud to have helped deliver this substantial federal funding to help Brilliant Labs equip young people in our community, including young people from low-income households in our priority neighborhoods, acquire the digital skills they need to succeed in the workforce, grow our local economy, and break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.”

–    Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John-Rothesay

“The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased to provide a grant to support this innovative partnership, as well as an in-kind contribution of two teaching units to support professional learning activities. Increasing opportunities for coding and technology in schools is ensuring our students can become innovators, educators, researchers, and leaders who will in turn become the catalysts for our province’s future economic success.”

–    The Honourable Brian Warr, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Through our partnership with Brilliant Labs we were able to introduce Maker Education to thousands of Island students in schools and libraries and at community learning events. Youth become very engaged in this hands-on learning which helps them develop their creative and digital skills, which are essential to their success in today’s economy.”

–    The Honourable Brad Trivers, Minister of Education and Lifelong Learning, Government of Prince Edward Island

“Nova Scotia has enjoyed a strong partnership with Brilliant Labs (BL) since 2015. Their hands-on opportunities provide a great benefit to students as they develop technological fluency and problem solving techniques, both of which will better prepare them for their future. We are so pleased to support a federal government investment that ultimately, helps students grow and expand their digital competency.”  

-       The Honourable Zach Churchill, Nova Scotia Minister of Education and Early Childhood Education

“We are incredibly excited and grateful to receive this funding in support of our work with educators, librarians, and community centre leaders as we empower young Atlantic Canadians to develop coding and  digital skills, a socially responsible entrepreneurial spirit, and their own intellectual property, which are crucial to the present and future socio-emotional and economic well being of our region. Together we are inspiring the next generation of engineers, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, and inventors.”

-       Jeff Willson, Executive Director of Brilliant Labs 

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada invested $1,676,239 in this project through ACOA’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program. The Province of Nova Scotia also contributed $400,000, while the Province of Prince Edward Island provided $160,000, and the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador contributed $547,327 toward the first year of this pan-Atlantic project.

  • The Regional Innovation Ecosystems stream of the REGI program supports the creation and growth of inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and fosters an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness.

  • The REGI program continues to build on the objectives of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan. 

  • Brilliant Labs is a not-for-profit community of entrepreneurs, non-profits, municipalities, and economic development agencies that aims to foster creativity, innovation, and an entrepreneurial spirit through coding and the development of digital competencies for youth in Atlantic Canada.


Jeff Willson
Executive Director
Brilliant Labs

Ann Kenney
Senior Communications Officer
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Daniele Medlej
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Science and Sport

Media Relations
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Jean Doherty
Senior Communications Officer
Department of Education and Lifelong Learning
Government of Prince Edward Island

Tina Coffey
Media Relations Manager
Education and Early Childhood Development
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
709-729-1906 / 709-687-9903

Chrissy Matheson
Media Relations Advisor
Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development 

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