Backgrounder:  Update to the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy and renewal of the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement.


On July 25, 2022, at a meeting of the Atlantic Growth Strategy Leadership Committee in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Atlantic Canadian federal ministers and premiers unveiled the updated Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy (ATIGS) and agreed to renew funding to support five more years of collaborative efforts to grow international trade and promote foreign direct investment in the region.

ATIGS, the Strategy

The updated Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Strategy builds on a strong level of federal-provincial collaboration that has put Atlantic Canada solidly on the path to a more innovative, diverse and globally competitive economy.

The federal and provincial governments remain firmly committed to:

  • increasing the number and capacity of Atlantic firms that will engage in international business activity,
  • helping firms identify and enter new markets, and
  • strengthening the capacity of the region to attract foreign direct investment.

The Strategy will continue to focus on developing export capacity within high-growth and high-potential firms and will respond to the needs and opportunities of firms at various stages of their trade development.

The updated Strategy keeps pace with the evolving needs of Atlantic Canada’s exporters and potential exporters, underscoring the importance of diversity, sustainable growth, digitization, innovation and supply chain optimization to enhanced competitiveness. Applying these lenses to ATIGS activities will result in bold investments that:

  • Increase accessibility to international markets for under-represented groups.
  • Leverage digital tools to support international market preparedness and business capacity, as well as enhance competitive advantages
  • Assist SMEs in responding to supply chain challenges.

ATIGA, the funding Agreement

In support of the Strategy’s efforts, the governments of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces announced a joint commitment of $20 million over five years. The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), is investing up to $14 million
(70 percent) while the remaining $6 million (30 percent) will come from the four provincial governments.

The Agreement will fund firm-centric activities designed to increase the export capacities of SMEs, eco-system development in support of exporting and investment attraction, and both short and longer-term in-market initiatives.


In its first five years, the Agreement achieved notable results:

  • Firms participating in ATIGA-supported activities reported export sales 2.7 times higher than firms exporting on their own.
  • Of the ATIGA-supported firms, nearly 20 percent more reported export revenues of $5 million or more, and close to 40 percent more ATIGA-supported firms exported to more than one country.
  • ATIGA funding helped firms pivot exporting activities to respond to COVID-19 impacts.
    • More than 250 firms were involved in in-market activities (trade shows, etc.) and nearly 1300 firms participated in capacity-building activities (such as training, gaining market intelligence and carrying out competitive analyses).
  • Furthermore, firms that are involved in ATIGA-supported activities estimate they have achieved $189 million in potential short-term sales (which equates to $15.28 per dollar invested); and $464 million in long-term sales, or $51.36 per dollar invested. 

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