Government of Canada continues unprecedented investments for economic recovery in Atlantic Canada

News release

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to continue delivering financial support to businesses impacted by COVID-19 

May 4, 2021 · Moncton, New Brunswick · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

When COVID first hit, it pushed the country into its deepest recession since the Great Depression. From the very beginning of the pandemic, an essential part of the Government of Canada's response has been unprecedented federal support for Canadians and Canadian businesses.

ACOA a lifeline for Atlantic Canadian businesses

Leveraging their unique connection to communities and local businesses, Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs), like ACOA in Atlantic Canada, continue to play a vital role in ensuring that businesses and communities are equipped to weather the storm, prepare for the reopening of the economy and plan for future growth.

Since April 2020, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has invested over $275 million in relief funding. Fast and efficient support was provided to Atlantic Canadian businesses that needed it the most through the following initiatives:

  • The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund invested over $230 million to provide liquidity to 2,462 businesses and organizations, helping bridge them to the recovery and preserving more than 16,000 jobs. Current funds are fully committed.
  • The Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund supported 97 businesses and organizations by investing over $45 million to help fish and seafood processors in Atlantic Canada get through the crisis, maintain more than 10,000 jobs and prepare for the economic recovery, so that their communities can continue to thrive. This funding is fully committed.
  • The Regional Air Transportation Initiative is set to enable the air transportation ecosystems to remain operational through these difficult times and continue to support the economic growth of our region. Applications submitted by April 30, 2021 will be prioritized.

ACOA to continue providing historic level of support

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA, highlighted the positive impact Budget 2021 will have on Atlantic Canada’s economy. Budget 2021 is a plan to position local economies for long-term growth by transitioning to a green economy, fostering an inclusive recovery, and creating jobs in every corner of the country.

ACOA is set to deliver the Atlantic region’s share of the national allocations for the following key measures:

  • $80 million more through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to match Canada Emergency Business Account-like investments;
  • an additional $51.7 million over four years under the Black Entrepreneurship Program to address systemic barriers faced by Black entrepreneurs and owners of small and medium-sized businesses in Canada;
  • $250 million over three years for an Aerospace Regional Recovery Initiative to improve productivity, strengthen commercialization, and green operations and products;
  • $500 million over two years for a new Canada Community Revitalization Fund to stimulate local economies, create jobs and improve the quality of life for Canadians from coast to coast to coast.;
  • $500 million to establish a new Tourism Relief Fund that will help local tourism businesses in adapting their products and services to public health measures, support their recovery and position them for growth; and
  • $700 million over three years through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program to support business financing, positioning local economies for long-term growth by transitioning to a green economy, fostering an inclusive recovery and enhancing competitiveness.

By increasing the role of the regional development agencies in the recovery and relaunch, the Government of Canada is taking a new approach to economic development: building on regional strengths, fostering job creation, growing local economies, and improving Canada’s collective competitiveness.


“This past year has taught us the importance of investing in our local and regional economies as a way to build resilience and maintain vibrancy in our communities. The impact of ACOA’s support in Atlantic Canada through the pandemic proves they are the right tool to create jobs, stimulate growth and help us come back stronger than ever, which is why we are proud to invest in their future through Budget 2021”

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for ACOA

“Small businesses are of critical importance to Atlantic Canada's economic recovery from COVID-19. By throwing our full weight behind small businesses and other impacted sectors, we are helping to set Canada up for long-term, sustainable and inclusive growth.”

Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency)

Quick facts

  • The regional development agencies (RDAs) help businesses and innovators grow and succeed. They also ensure that Canada’s regions are heard in Ottawa and provide support to advance and diversify regional economies – so communities can thrive.

  • More details on the planned measures and specific allocations to each RDA proposed in Budget 2021 will be made available as soon as possible.

  • Businesses and organizations that still require support to get through the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are encouraged to contact ACOA for more information on available funding. The ACOA Business Information Services team is well equipped to guide businesses through the various federal and provincial support measures available.

  • ACOA continues to invest in projects that promote sustainable local economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation through its regular suite of programs. In 2020-21, ACOA committed all of its allocated regular programming budget to foster economic opportunities across the region.

Associated links


Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Media Relations

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