Minister Joly hosts virtual forum to discuss Government of Canada investments supporting a feminist recovery

News release

Women entrepreneurs and business support organizations across Atlantic Canada gather virtually to discuss Budget 2021

May 6, 2021 · Dartmouth, Nova Scotia · Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

Budget 2021 is the Government of Canada’s plan to finish the fight against COVID-19 and ensure a robust economic recovery that is inclusive of all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, will meet with more than 30 Atlantic Canadian business women in a public forum to discuss Budget 2021: A Recovery Plan for Jobs, Growth and Resilience, including investments to support women entrepreneurs. The Honourable Bernadette Jordan, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Parliamentary Secretary Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary Darren Fisher and Sean Casey will also participate in the event.

Canadian women entrepreneurs are critical to Canada’s economic success, but women still face unique and systemic barriers to starting and growing a business, and they remain underrepresented in the economy. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women and the government is committed to supporting Canadian women entrepreneurs.

Budget 2021: Support for women entrepreneurs

Budget 2021 is a plan that seeks to give all women in Canada the ability to fully participate in the economy. By supporting women, the Government of Canada is working to create a system that works for everyone, and build a stronger middle class, with investments such as:

          •  $30 billion over the next five years to establish a Canada-wide early learning and child care system to help
              increase women’s participation in the workforce and create jobs in these sectors.

          •  $145 million over four years to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, providing greater access to
              financing, mentorship and training.

         •   $470 million over three years to establish a new Apprenticeship Service, with doubled incentives for employers
              who hire those underrepresented in trades, including women.

          •  $172 million over five years, and $36 million ongoing, to Statistics Canada to measure results and uncover hidden

Recent federal investments for business support organizations

During the virtual forum, Minister Joly will announce more than $5.8 million in ACOA investments to nine Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurship organizations. This funding will support 13 projects to help women entrepreneurs access the resources, mentorship and capital they need to maintain and grow their businesses. Details on the projects to be announced are found in the related backgrounder.

Today’s announcement further demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to creating the right conditions for businesses to bounce back from the pandemic. This is validated by historic investments in Budget 2021 to bridge Canadians and Canadian businesses through the crisis towards a robust recovery. 


“Budget 2021 is a feminist budget that will help women entrepreneurs overcome obstacles that have been intensified by COVID-19. Our government is committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to grow their businesses and successfully rebound from the devastating effects of the pandemic.”

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

“We know that women are disproportionately impacted by this pandemic, and these investments are needed now more than ever. As women entrepreneurs work to offset the negative impacts of COVID-19 on their businesses and on this region’s economy, we will be there to support their efforts every step of the way.”

Darren Fisher, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (ACOA) 

“Women entrepreneurs make a real difference in our economy – and we’re committed to supporting them as we build back from COVID-19. Budget 2021 commits up to $146.7 million over five years to strengthen the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which will make sure these incredible women are supported for years to come. Our government will always be there to help the organizations that help Atlantic Canadian women get the tools they need to lead successful businesses. Congratulations to all involved in today’s important announcement.”

Gudie Hutchings, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development 

Quick facts

  • The funding announced today is provided through various ACOA programs, namely the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), the Business Development Program (BDP) and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). 

  • Budget 2021 includes $101.4 billion over three years in proposed investments as part of the Government of Canada’s growth plan to create good jobs and support a resilient and inclusive recovery. Key measures include:

            o   Supporting a new Canada Digital Adoption Program that will assist over 160,000 businesses with the cost of
                  new technology. It will provide them with the advice they need to get the most out of new technology with
                  the help of 28,000 young Canadians who will be trained to work with them.

            o   Allowing Canadian small businesses to fully expense up to $1.5 million in capital investments in a broad range
                  of assets, including digital technology and intellectual property. This represents an additional $2.2 billion
                   investment in the growth of Canada’s entrepreneurs over the next five years.

            o   Revitalizing Canada’s tourism sector through $1 billion to help tourism businesses recover and support
                  festivals and cultural events that provide jobs and growth in many of our cities and communities.

            o   Supporting women, Black Canadians, and other underrepresented entrepreneurs who face barriers to
                  launching and owning businesses through $300 million to enhance initiatives like the Black Entrepreneurship
                  Program and the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

            o   Establishing a Canada-wide early learning and child care system to increase women’s participation in the

            o   Establishing a $15 federal minimum wage.

Related products

Associated links


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

Media Relations
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

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