Building a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada

Federal Ministers and Atlantic Premiers announce the launch of an Atlantic Growth Strategy following a meeting on Atlantic Canada’s economy

July 4, 2016 – St. Peters Bay, Prince Edward Island

The Government of Canada and the governments of the four Atlantic Provinces are working together to build a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada by focussing their efforts and resources to stimulate the region’s economy, support the middle class and address both long standing and emerging regional challenges. These actions will build on other advancements for the middle class, such as the Canada Child Benefit and the recent agreement on the Canada Pension Plan.

To demonstrate this commitment, today, the Government of Canada and the four Atlantic provincial governments jointly announced the launch of an Atlantic Growth Strategy that will direct targeted actions to stimulate the region’s economy, support both innovative and resource-based industries, and increase job opportunities for Atlantic Canadians. The details were made public following a meeting that concluded today between the four Atlantic Premiers – Stephen McNeil, Brian Gallant, Wade MacLauchlan and Dwight Ball – and federal Ministers Lawrence MacAulay, John McCallum, Scott Brison, Dominic LeBlanc, Navdeep Bains, and Judy Foote.

The Atlantic Growth Strategy is intended to drive economic growth in the region by implementing targeted, evidence-based actions under the following five priority areas:

  • Skilled workforce/immigrationEnhance the region’s capacity to develop, deploy and retain a skilled workforce by addressing persistent and emerging labour market needs and making Atlantic Canada a destination of choice for immigrants.
  • Innovation Foster greater business innovation by supporting the scaling up of small firms, technology transfer, the commercialization of research, and the generation of new breakthrough ideas in areas such as bioscience, aquaculture, ocean technology and renewable energy, while also spurring value-added opportunities in established industries like the fisheries, agriculture and forestry which are the foundation of Atlantic Canada’s economy.
  • Clean growth and climate changeStimulate economic growth, creation of clean jobs, and innovation in the transition to a low-carbon economy.
  • Trade and investmentExpand business activities between Atlantic Canada and international markets, and strategically market the region as a whole by displaying the best Atlantic Canada has to offer the world to attract new investments and grow tourism.
  • Infrastructure Invest in regionally significant infrastructure projects, including broadband connectivity, that support long-term growth in Atlantic Canada and position the region to capitalize on global trade opportunities by attracting investment and enhancing productivity.

Ministers and Premiers unveiled a two-year action plan that will guide short-term actions to be implemented under the Atlantic Growth Strategy. The first area of action focusses on skilled workforce and immigration with the introduction of a new three-year immigration pilot project aimed at addressing the unique labour market challenges in Atlantic Canada. When in place, the pilot project will help to better match the needs of local employers with the skill sets of immigrants while helping to improve the attraction and retention of newcomers in Atlantic Canada.

Through this project the Government ‎will admit up to 2,000 immigrants and accompanying families in 2017, with rising numbers in the following years depending on performance. This is a substantial increase, amounting to almost half the current number of provincial nominees in Atlantic Canada. The federal and provincial governments will continue to undertake cooperative actions that will bring stable and long-term economic prosperity in Atlantic Canada and additional joint actions will be unveiled over the coming months.

Ministers and Premiers have formed a Leadership Committee to oversee the implementation of targeted actions, provide policy direction, review the broad range of factors that affect the Atlantic Canadian economy, and, ultimately, drive results that will lead to economic growth in the region. The efforts of the Leadership Committee will be supported by an Advisory Group.


“The Government of Canada is focussed on growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. Working jointly with the Atlantic Premiers, we will make the strategic investments and take the actions needed to generate long-term clean and inclusive growth, create jobs and position Atlantic Canada as a thriving, knowledge-driven economy.”
– The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)

“This is a major initiative that addresses a top priority of provincial governments and will lay the foundation for sustainable economic growth. Accomodating a variety of skill levels, provincial governments and employers will recruit and settle immigrants depending on the economic needs of the provinces.”
– The Honourable John McCallum, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

“To build on our successes and create sustained prosperity for Prince Edward Island, we must grow our workforce and continue to foster an environment of innovation and entrepreneurship. Working together with our Atlantic, federal and community partners, we will grow our population and create economic opportunities for all Islanders and for the Atlantic Region.”
– The Honourable Wade MacLauchlan, Premier of Prince Edward Island