Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
Symbol of the Government of Canada

2019-20 Departmental Plan
Planned results: what we want to achieve this year and beyond

Core Responsibility: Economic development in Atlantic Canada

Description

Support Atlantic Canada’s economic growth, wealth creation and economic prosperity through inclusive clean growth and building on competitive regional strengths. Help small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth through direct financial assistance and indirectly to business support organizations. SMEs become more innovative by adopting new technologies and processes and pursuing new avenues for expansion and market diversification in order to compete and succeed in a global market.

Planning highlights

As part of ACOA’s role as a convener for economic development in Atlantic Canada and the Agency’s role in implementing the Atlantic Growth Strategy, the renewed focus on key priorities will be a central element of ACOA’s planning. The focus on these strategic priorities will have a positive impact on the Agency’s desired results and on how it achieves them. The Agency will act as a pathfinder for national programs to support Atlantic businesses to better access and benefit from federal investments. ACOA will look to invest in specific growth sectors, such as ocean, food, clean technology and tourism, while supporting advanced manufacturing, the start-up ecosystem and exports as drivers of competitiveness. The Agency will also focus on Indigenous economic development and on supporting a skilled workforce through immigration.

ACOA will support business investments in the development and commercialization of innovative technologies in Atlantic Canada by:

  • Investing in businesses at various stages of development, from start-up to high-growth, to accelerate their growth, assist them in scaling up, and enhance their productivity and competitiveness in both domestic and global markets, through the Business Scale-up and Productivity stream of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Program (REGI Program).
  • Deploying the Regional Innovation Ecosystem stream of the REGI Program, to create, grow and nurture inclusive regional ecosystems that support business needs and foster an entrepreneurial environment conducive to innovation, growth and competitiveness by convening innovation ecosystem stakeholders, particularly those related to the food and ocean sectors.
  • Undertaking an initiative to target capability enhancing investments for the many SMEs across Canada that are downstream steel and aluminum users.
  • Enabling companies to adopt clean technologies and processes for increased productivity and competitiveness.

ACOA will invest in the innovation and growth of Atlantic Canadian businesses through:

  • Collaboration with other federal and provincial departments to raise business awareness of the need to increase digitization and use of transformative technologies, including clean technologies in Atlantic Canada, and ensure that businesses have the capital they need to implement advanced manufacturing solutions in their operations for increased productivity and competitiveness.
  • As business culture and skills development are critical to SME growth, close work with key stakeholders in the region, such as the provinces, educational institutions and industry associations, to address skills issues facing the industry.
  • The Atlantic Trade and Investment and Growth Agreement, which will invest $20 million from federal and provincial sources over five years (2017–2022), and the implementation of plans developed by pan-Atlantic sector teams, co-chaired by the Agency and industry associations, which support ATIGS export targets and objectives in key industry sectors such as food and beverage, clean growth, advanced manufacturing, and ocean technologies.
  • Collaboration with federal and provincial partners to implement the Tourism Innovation Action Plan and advance Atlantic Canada’s tourism competitiveness and productive capacity.
  • Its role as the lead federal department for the Accelerated Growth Service in Atlantic Canada, enabling growth-oriented businesses to attain their full potential. The Agency will keep building its pipeline of clients that demonstrate strong potential for growth by providing focused sales and export support.

ACOA will invest in the economic diversification of communities to:

  • Build awareness of the benefits of immigration to help address labour skills issues in Atlantic Canada, and act as a pathfinder, notably by promoting immigration programming, such as the Atlantic Growth Strategy’s Atlantic Immigration Pilot, and by supporting the Atlantic Canada Study and Stay program, now delivered across all four Atlantic provinces.
  • Reach a larger number of Indigenous businesses by supporting efforts that target capacity building and increase knowledge and awareness through interactive business mapping, and by connecting with stakeholders through joint participation in key committees and initiatives as well as communities of interest.
  • Along with other RDAs, deliver funding as part of WES, with the objective of increasing the number of women-owned and women-led businesses by enhancing, targeting and diversifying types of support available to women entrepreneurs. The Women Entrepreneurship Fund will invest in women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and pursue new market opportunities. The WES Ecosystem Fund will help non-profit, third-party organizations deliver support for women entrepreneurs and address gaps in the ecosystem. ACOA will invest over $7 million in WES projects by 2023. Investments under WES will work toward doubling the number of SMEs majority-owned by women by 2025.

ACOA also fosters innovation internally and is committed to experimenting with different strategies or methods to deliver programs, assess their relevance, and improve service to clients. For instance, ACOA will build on the success of a pilot project that aims to streamline the evaluation process for commercial projects by extending the pilot to non-commercial projects. In addition, in partnership with the National Research Council of Canada as the technical lead, ACOA is developing a competition under the Impact Canada challenge platform. The challenge aims to incentivize novel ideas to reduce fisheries fuel consumption by maximizing Atlantic Canada’s boat building expertise to design a boat hull for inshore fishing fleets that would decrease the amount of greenhouse-gas-emitting fuels used. Such projects will encourage technological innovation and increase awareness of the importance of clean growth technologies. This also presents an opportunity for economic benefit, by bringing forward new technology to the fisheries industry while promoting the region as an environmentally and technologically innovative region.

Risk Mitigation

ACOA will capitalize on the flexibility of its programming, on its advocacy role, on its integrated planning and on balancing risk in its loan portfolio to mitigate potential risks associated with the economy and the capacity of external stakeholders in Atlantic Canada. It will also conduct research and analysis of the factors affecting economic growth in Atlantic Canada, as well as collaborate with partners and stakeholders to foster client and community capacity to help reach the goals established under the Innovation and Skills Plan, the Atlantic Growth Strategy, and the Agency’s own key priority areas.

Planned results

Departmental
result
Departmental result
indicator
Target Date to
achieve target
2015-16
Actual result
2016-17
Actual result
2017-18
Actual result
Communities are economically diversified in Atlantic Canada Percentage of Atlantic Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are majority owned by women, Indigenous people, youth, visible minorities and persons with disabilities 17.0% of female ownership,
1.3% of Indigenous ownership,
10.6% of youth ownership,
4.0% of visible minority ownership, and
0.3% of person(s) with a disability ownership
March 31, 2020 Not available* Not available* 17.1% of female ownership,
1.1% of Indigenous ownership,
10.6% of youth ownership,
4.5% of visible minority ownership, and 
0.3% of person(s) with a disability ownership
Percentage of professional, science and technology-related jobs in Atlantic Canada’s economy 31%** March 31, 2020 30% 31% 32%
Amount leveraged per dollar invested by ACOA in community projects $1.25 for every dollar invested by ACOA in Atlantic Canada March 31, 2020 $1.38 $1.17 $1.37
Businesses invest in the development and commercialization of innovative technologies in Atlantic Canada Value of business expenditures in research and development by firms receiving ACOA program funding, in dollars $66 million March 31, 2020 Not available* Not available* Not available*
Percentage of businesses engaged in collaborations with higher education institutions in Atlantic Canada 18% March 31, 2020 Not available* Not available* 18%
Businesses are innovative and growing in Atlantic Canada Number of high growth firms in Atlantic Canada 740** March 31, 2020 790 610 Not available*
Value of export of goods (in dollars) from Atlantic Canada $22 billion** March 31, 2020 $21.1 billion $19.5 billion $24.8 billion
Value of exports of clean technologies (in dollars) from Atlantic Canada Not available* March 31, 2020 Not available* Not available* Not available*
Revenue growth rate of firms supported by ACOA programs 8% March 31, 2020 7% 13% 8%

* Not available. Some “Actual results” data are not available because either a) the indicator was new for the 2018-19 fiscal year, and data for previous fiscal years were not available for that indicator, or b) there is a lag in statistical data, meaning that such data are currently only available for a specific period prior to the fiscal year exercise.

** Due to fluctuations in the percentage of professional, science and technology-related jobs, the number of high-growth firms and the value of exports in Atlantic Canada in recent years, the targets for these indicators have been revised accordingly to better reflect both the current economic situation and outlook in the region.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2019-20
Main Estimates
2019-20
Planned spending
2020-21
Planned spending
2021-22
Planned spending
289,063,006 289,063,006 267,187,006 265,407,249

Human resources (full-time equivalents [FTEs])

2019-20
Planned
2020-21
Planned
2021-22
Planned
382 382 382

Financial, human resources and performance information for ACOA’s Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services

Description

Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of Programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct services that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. These services are:

  • Management and Oversight Services
  • Communications Services
  • Legal Services
  • Human Resources Management Services
  • Financial Management Services
  • Information Management Services
  • Information Technology Services
  • Real Property Management Services
  • Materiel Management Services
  • Acquisition Management Services

Planning highlights

In 2019-20, ACOA will implement organizational initiatives to strengthen and improve the efficiency of service and program delivery and build upon its excellence. The Agency will keep improving processes and systems in priority areas, such as human resources, information management (IM), information technology (IT), finance and administration. It will continue to collaborate with other RDAs to improve upon the efficient delivery of programs and services to Canadians, including a new grants and contributions system.

ACOA will support workplace well-being by continuing to foster a healthy, respectful, accessible and inclusive workplace. It will do so by promoting awareness and use of available tools, by taking action on feedback from employees, and by continuing to implement the Agency Mental Health Action Plan.

Workforce renewal efforts will include implementing innovative strategies to attract and retain a diverse and high-performing workforce through targeted recruitment and enhanced consultation with employees. The Agency will work to manage talent more consistently and effectively, and will develop an organizational learning strategy to meet evolving needs.

ACOA will focus on effectively managing and safeguarding financial and other resources in the delivery of programs through innovation and risk management by promoting standardized and efficient practices. ACOA’s 2019 Values and Ethics Strategy will also be implemented to ensure that values and ethics remain at the foundation of the Agency’s corporate culture, and support open dialogue at all levels of the organization.

In support of accountability and evidence-based decision making, ACOA will maintain a strong focus on results and impact through ongoing performance measurement, evaluation and analysis of its programs and services. It will continue to ensure that its key activities and budgetary resources are aligned with Government of Canada priorities and the Agency’s mandate, and that its planning and decision-making processes fully integrate all required aspects.

ACOA will implement IM/IT initiatives in support of the Government of Canada Strategic Plan for Information Management and Information Technology 2017 to 2021. These initiatives include a focus on gradually decommissioning legacy systems to adopt cloud services, and completing implementation activities for the GCdocs document management system.

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)

2019-20
Main Estimates
2019-20
Planned spending
2020-21
Planned spending
2021-22
Planned spending
26,553,941 26,553,941 26,501,876 26,062,242

Human resources (FTEs)

2019-20
Planned
2020-21
Planned
2021-22
Planned
196 196 196