Atlantic Canada’s Premiers and Federal Ministers Renew Atlantic Growth Strategy Priorities

News release

Premiers and Ministers reaffirm their commitment to collaborating on key action areas and supporting robust economic growth in the region

St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador (NL) – July 25, 2022 – Governments of Canada and the Atlantic Provinces 

Sustained economic growth in Atlantic Canada requires strong federal-provincial collaboration. Atlantic premiers and federal ministers are focused on addressing current and emerging issues to support the long-term economic growth in small and large communities across the region. 

Premiers and ministers met to discuss ongoing and planned actions to grow the region’s economy and support its future prosperity. Co-chaired by the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, and the Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, the meeting saw premiers and ministers recommit to pursuing key regional opportunities in energy, immigration, infrastructure, transit, innovation, tourism, and trade and investment. 

Today, they engaged in a constructive and forward-looking discussion about top-of-mind issues such as labour shortages, affordability, housing availability and energy. Premiers and ministers discussed and acknowledged the need to tackle the effect inflation is having on the cost of living for Atlantic Canadians. They agreed on the importance of working together through the Atlantic Growth Strategy to help make life more affordable for Atlantic Canadians in communities large and small.

Premiers and ministers recognized that removing unnecessary barriers and making it easier for entrepreneurs to do business within the Atlantic region will help address the region’s economic challenges. They see an opportunity for federal and provincial governments to work aggressively to reduce internal trade barriers, in particular in the agri-food and energy sectors, as well as to align regulatory approaches and accelerate labour mobility, particularly in the health care sector. They committed to work collaboratively to remove these barriers within their jurisdictions.

Premiers and ministers highlighted the necessity of bolstering Atlantic Canada’s clean energy supply and achieving national and local emissions reduction targets, all while addressing the region’s growing energy needs. They reviewed progress on several initiatives, including the Clean Power Road Map for Atlantic Canada and the Atlantic Loop. 

Federal ministers and premiers agreed on the need to continue to advance the Atlantic Loop and validate the 2030 timeline and also continue to work on the broader regional plan to provide secure and affordable electricity to meet the region’s medium- and long-term needs. They reiterated the importance of advancing an agreement on the project’s path forward over the coming months, to strengthen regional trade in clean power, support electrification and generate new economic opportunities for the region. 

Atlantic Canada has unique regional workforce challenges. Attracting and retaining newcomers is one way that Atlantic businesses can recruit the workers they need and grow the economy. Premiers and ministers discussed ongoing efforts in this area, and renewed their vision of positioning Atlantic Canada as a destination of choice for global talent. Building on the Atlantic Immigration Program launched earlier this year, they agreed on the need to increase immigration and retention through existing programs including the Provincial Nominee Program, the opportunities of skilled refugees through the Economic Mobility Pathways Program/Pilot, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program adjustments adopted as part of the Workforce Solutions Road Map, and the 2022–2024 Immigration Levels Plan.

Premiers and ministers also discussed other ways to address labour force gaps, such as enhancing foreign credential recognition, accelerating labour mobility, enhancing youth skills development, and leveraging labour market transfer agreements. Premiers and ministers discussed options to further enable international students to contribute to local economies over the short term. They agreed that innovative solutions are needed to address labour shortages, adapted to Atlantic Canadian businesses’ distinctive challenges. To that end, the new Express Entry System selection flexibilities set out in Budget 2022 will enable better future targeting for key economic sectors and regions. 

Building on the positive outcomes of the 2017 Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement (ATIGA), premiers and ministers announced the agreement’s renewal until 2027. Through this agreement, the governments of Canada and the four Atlantic provinces will invest a total of $20 million over five years to help Atlantic firms pursue international business opportunities, enter new export markets or increase their current offerings abroad, and strengthen the region’s capacity to attract foreign investment. 

Premiers and ministers noted that regional tourism numbers are already exceeding expectations this summer. As a major job creator, tourism is key to growing the region’s prosperity, particularly in rural communities. They confirmed their intent to pursue the renewal of the Atlantic Canada Tourism Agreement (ACAT), which is due to expire in 2023. 

Accelerating the delivery of broadband services, including mobile broadband, helps ensure strong economic growth in the region and gives businesses the tools they need to compete globally. Recent regional initiatives and investments made under the Universal Broadband Fund are bridging broadband gaps, including in 350 rural and remote communitiesthat will be connected. These ongoing collaborative federal-provincial efforts will see residents in hundreds of communities gain access to this key enabling infrastructure.

Premiers and ministers agreed that world-class public infrastructure is critical in improving the quality of life for Atlantic Canadians, while supporting economic growth, creating livable communities and tackling climate change. Premiers and ministers committed to working together to inform the design of future programming to ensure that it reflects Atlantic Canada’s priorities while also advancing national goals.

Premiers and ministers reaffirmed their commitment to work together and build on the initiatives that are benefitting Atlantic Canadians through the Strategy. The federal and provincial governments will continue their coordinated and focused actions to support long-term economic prosperity in Atlantic Canada, and tasked officials to explore additional joint initiatives and redefine objectives over the coming months. 


“The Government of Canada has a long history of sustained collaboration with Atlantic governments – and today’s meeting is a continuation of that tradition. As we look to the future, the Atlantic Growth Strategy will continue to be an important tool to advance regional priorities and position Atlantic Canadians for long-term success.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities  

“Renewing the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement and other continuing efforts under the Atlantic Growth Strategy will help strengthen local communities and grow our economy. Together, we are paving the way towards an ecosystem where Atlantic Canadian businesses can compete on the global stage, while creating wealth here at home. By forging global partnerships, local firms will be in a better position to grow, innovate, attract the top talent they need, diversify and expand to generate sustained economic growth.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“The Atlantic Growth Strategy is about pooling federal and provincial resources to accelerate the growth of Atlantic Canada's economy, which largely rests on immigration and retention. Our province has a critical role to play in our region’s collaboration, particularly through the development of our hydrogen, wind, and hydroelectric resources. Robust economic activity not only supports job growth, it also provides additional resources for investments in our social well-being, including education, healthcare, infrastructure and other areas.”
– The Honourable Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

“Immigration has helped shape Canada into the country it is today. Simply put, Canada needs immigrants. As we move through our post-pandemic economic recovery and growth, immigration is the key to getting there. Since 2017, the Atlantic Immigration Program (AIP) has been very successful in attracting skilled immigrants to the Atlantic region. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and the Atlantic provinces have worked very hard and will continue to do so to ensure the AIP addresses the unique labour market and demographic needs of the region.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“Atlantic Canadians need reliable high-speed Internet and mobile connectivity to support economic growth and ensure residents can access services, supports and opportunities. That is why the Government of Canada, and our Atlantic provincial partners, have been making significant investments in rural and remote Internet infrastructure across the Atlantic region to help ensure all Canadians have access to fast and reliable Internet, no matter where they live.”
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development

“Atlantic Canadians got through the last two years by supporting each other. Together, we are committed to investing in our environment and supporting the sustained growth in our regional economy.  Renewing the Atlantic Growth Strategy is our commitment to growing our skilled workforce and innovative businesses, boosting connectivity, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Islanders and Atlantic Canadians deserve the best, and the AGS makes sure we are working together to achieve the best in our communities.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

“The best thing our governments can do is invest in our workers in Atlantic Canada, and trust in their voices. Workers are a shared priority and we must listen to our unions, and trust in the businesses that put our success within reach.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labour

“Today’s relaunch of the Atlantic Growth Strategy, including the renewal of the Atlantic Trade and Investment Growth Agreement, is good news as the AGS partnership helps strengthen the region. Nova Scotia has benefited from collaboration between Atlantic provinces and Federal ministers in trade, immigration and clean power and we look forward to making great strides in new opportunities in hydrogen power and internal trade. Through the AGS, we can meet future challenges and lead the country in exploring new and sustainable economic opportunities.”
– The Honourable Tim Houston, Premier of Nova Scotia

“Today's discussion was inspirational in the sense that we had frank discussions on generational issues such as securing affordable and sustainable energy while transitioning to clean energy sources. We have identified that addressing our short-term labour market challenges includes a more streamlined immigration system. I'm encouraged with the discussions today that will address that challenge. We are all committed to taking a regional approach to addressing costly trade impediments and finding solutions in cooperation with our neighbours. New Brunswick is the next host of the AGS and I look forward to achieving positive results on these important issues for Atlantic Canadians.”
– The Honourable Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick

“Labour force, health care, affordability and the environment are critical issues for residents and businesses, and they are affecting various aspects of life for Atlantic Canadians. Transformational partnerships with the federal government can assist with making life more affordable, improve programs and services in the region, and generate new economic opportunities in Atlantic Canada. The Government of Prince Edward Island is committed to enhanced federal and provincial collaboration and strategic actions to advance shared priorities in Atlantic Canada including fostering economic growth, improving living standards, and driving innovation.” 
– The Honourable Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island

Quick facts

  • The Atlantic Growth Strategy is a set of pan-Atlantic, federal-provincial initiatives that are paving the way for a stronger economy in Atlantic Canada through a collaborative and consolidated approach based on results.

  • Since the Atlantic Growth strategy launched in July 2016, its partners have announced investments to drive sustainable growth in five key areas: skilled workforce/immigration; innovation; clean growth and climate change; trade and investment; and infrastructure.

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Jean-Sébastien Comeau
Office of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc 
Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

Catherine Mounier-Desrochers
Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Aidan Strickland
Office of the Honourable Sean Fraser 
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 

Luka Vujic
Office of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings 
Minister of Rural Economic Development 

Aidan Strickland
Office of the Honourable Sean Fraser 
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship 

Luka Vujic
Office of the Honourable Gudie Hutchings 
Minister of Rural Economic Development 

Erika Lashbrook Knutson
Office of the Honourable Lawrence MacAulay 
Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence

Daniel Pollak
Office of the Honourable Seamus O’Regan
Minister of Labour

Catherine Klimek
Office of the Premier of Nova Scotia 

Tyler Campbell
Office of the Premier of New Brunswick

Adam Ross
Office of the Premier of Prince Edward Island

Meghan McCabe
Office of the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador

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