The Government of Canada is working with all four provincial governments in Atlantic Canada to build “a vibrant economic future for Atlantic Canada by focussing their efforts and resources on stimulating the region’s economy, supporting the middle class, and addressing both long standing and emerging regional challenges.”

If provinces like NL are full of great minds, products, innovators, resources, and drive, then what’s our problem, why are we struggling financially? That’s what the Atlantic Growth Strategy hopes to answer. And fix.

To achieve this goal, they’ve launched a new pan-Atlantic “whole-of-government approach” and dubbed it the Atlantic Growth Strategy. It will “harness the region’s assets” and consult with everyone from entrepreneurs to indigenous, community, and industry leaders to identify the shared economic priorities of Atlantic Canadian provinces.

A leadership committee has been struck up, and is comprised of the premieres of the 4 Atlantic provinces, as well as 5 federal government ministers. This committee will collaborate and provide public reports along the way.

“Together, the federal and provincials governments are playing the long game,” says the newly published Atlantic Growth Strategy website – “sustainable prosperity in Atlantic Canada for generations to come.”

Five Action Areas Identified to Stimulate Economic Growth

1.) A Skilled Workforce / Immigration: This first area of action focuses on building a skilled workforce with the introduction of a new three-year immigration pilot project aimed at addressing the labour market challenges in Atlantic Canada. The pilot project will 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. The Government ‎will admit up to 2,000 immigrants and accompanying families in 2017.

2.) Innovation: The plan is to “scale up” small firms and businesses, to foster greater business innovation and the commercialization of research and breakthrough ideas in fields like bioscience, aquaculture, ocean technology, and renewable energy, “while also spurring value-added opportunities in established industries like the fishery, agriculture, and forestry” – the former foundations of Atlantic Canada’s economy.

3.) Clean Growth: Our nation is transitioning to a low-carbon economy, one not so dependent on oil revenue, etc., and there is money to be made in the green economy. The committee will strive to find ways to stimulate economic growth (and create clean jobs) during this transition.

4.) Trade and Investment: This one’s simple: stimulate more trade between Atlantic Canadian companies and international markets, and, “strategically market the region as a whole by displaying the best Atlantic Canada has to offer the world.” This includes our draw as a tourism hotspot.

5.) Infrastructure: “Invest in regionally significant infrastructure projects that support long-term growth in Atlantic Canada, and position the region to capitalize on global trade opportunities by attracting investment and enhancing productivity.”

Already, the Federal government has invested 3 million in the Marine Institute of Memorial University as part of the Atlantic Growth Strategy. It was to help the Marine Institute develop the Holyrood Marine Base into a world-class facility to support the applied research, education, training, and testing requirements of our growing ocean technology industry.

“Through this investment in the Fisheries & Marine Institute we are supporting a key piece of infrastructure in the Town of Holyrood that will help contribute to a stronger ocean technology industry in this region,” says Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development

Ocean technology has been identified as a strategic sector in NL, and this project will help build capacity in this new field, while enhancing Marine Institute’s ability to maintain its position as a first-class provider of ocean technology training and research.