Leadership Committee members commit to next phase of collaboration to strengthen Atlantic Canada
MONCTON, NB, July 18, 2023 /CNW/ – Strong federal-provincial cooperation is helping transform Atlantic Canada’s economy. Since the Atlantic Growth Strategy was launched in 2016, both levels of government have collaborated to launch innovative measures designed to unlock the region’s potential. This partnership has contributed to a stronger economy, population growth, and opportunities for businesses and communities across Atlantic Canada.
Federal ministers and Atlantic premiers met today to discuss how to harness the unique advantages and opportunities of the region through renewed Atlantic Growth Strategy priorities and explore new targeted pathways to foster prosperity for all Atlantic Canadians. 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 Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick, the meeting focused on enabling continued population growth and workforce development, enhancing productivity and competitiveness, energy development opportunities and accelerating the transition to a net-zero economy.
LEVERAGING POPULATION GROWTH AND ATTRACTING AND RETAINING A STRONG WORKFORCE
To strengthen its economic momentum, Atlantic Canada must expand its skilled, diverse, and adaptable workforce. Premiers and ministers acknowledged the success of the Atlantic Immigration Program and agreed to collaborate on further measures to enhance immigration to the region, including making the system more responsive to labour market needs and exploring innovations to address region-specific needs. Leaders also discussed the importance of reducing barriers for international students, and maximizing settlement supports.
Recognizing that housing plays an important role in meeting the region’s employment goals, ministers and premiers agreed to explore new approaches to rural workforce housing, and to collaborate with community organizations to meet current and future housing needs.
Premiers and ministers also discussed ways in which the region can build on the success of the Foreign Credential Recognition Program through projects that support labour integration of internationally trained professionals, and identify opportunities to focus efforts in key sectors such as health care.
SPURRING INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY AND COMPETITIVENESS
Governments are committed to working together to support innovators and entrepreneurs to enhance productivity and improve competitiveness through digital transformation, including improved access to programs to help businesses adopt new technologies.
Atlantic Canada is leading the way in reducing barriers to trade and worker mobility within Canada. Premiers and ministers discussed recent advances supporting internal trade within Atlantic Canada including the Atlantic Physicians Registry, the Atlantic Technical Safety Agreement and the Federal Action Plan to strengthen Internal Trade. They committed to continuing to reduce barriers within the region in key areas such as labour mobility and credential recognition and strengthening trade of goods and services in sectors such as alcohol, agriculture and transportation. To position further success in the region, the governments will work together to continue to advance progress on internal trade through the work of the Atlantic Trade and Procurement Partnership. The Atlantic provinces and the Federal Government will also partner together to reduce or eliminate barriers faced by Atlantic stakeholders in Canada and internationally.
Being able to easily travel to and throughout the Atlantic region is a critical factor in attracting talent, tourism and business to the Atlantic region. Premiers and ministers discussed options to expand air connectivity and address the challenges of airline capacity, pilot availability, and passenger demand. They announced the creation of a new Atlantic Working Group on Regional Air Travel comprised of senior officials and industry partners. The task force will look at specific program and policy interventions to address regional air access challenges and submit a proposed implementation plan by October 1, 2023. During the discussion, the Honourable Omar Alghabra, Minister of Transport, expressed support for the collaborative work between federal and provincial governments.
Competition for international travelers in the coming years will be intense, and the time to refocus efforts on promoting Atlantic Canada as a tourist destination is now. Leaders support and look forward to the renewal of the Atlantic Canada Agreement on Tourism (ACAT) for $30 million over four and a half years. This innovative agreement, which aligns with Canada’s new Federal Tourism Growth Strategy, will support efforts to increase visitation to the region for years to come.
ADVANCING THE TRANSITION TO A NET-ZERO, GREEN ECONOMY
Access to clean, affordable electricity is critical to Atlantic Canada. With a strong history of collaboration, the federal government and Atlantic provinces share a common vision to deliver clean, reliable and affordable energy, create jobs for Atlantic Canadians and provide a healthier environment for future generations. The region is poised to benefit from the transition to net-zero thanks to key economic assets, including critical minerals, hydroelectricity, onshore wind, offshore wind, and small modular reactors. To take advantage of this global economic shift, Atlantic Canada will need to increase supplies of clean electricity by strengthening generation and transmission capacity and developing green, renewable and non-emitting energy sources.
Premiers and ministers agreed on the importance of advancing the clean energy transition and harnessing clean growth opportunities, while maintaining the affordability of electricity and other fuels for Atlantic Canadians.
Federal ministers and premiers agreed to build upon the Clean Power Roadmap for Atlantic Canada by collaborating on high-potential clean energy projects, expanding the electrical grid, and continuing discussions on the energy transmission and regional trade in electricity, energy security and provincial plans to reduce the carbon footprint of the Atlantic economy. They also noted the importance of preparing Atlantic businesses for the net-zero transition to ensure they remain competitive in the global economy, including by identifying initiatives that promote growth in green innovation.
Federal ministers and premiers also agreed governments must continue to collaborate to put in place long-term adaptation measures, support disaster mitigation, and help make infrastructure more resilient to future climate events.
Premiers expressed concerns to federal ministers on the disproportionate impact of the Clean Fuel Regulations on Atlantic Canada. They discussed the importance of working together to address the regional impacts.
DELIVERING FOR ATLANTIC CANADIANS
Atlantic Canada has witnessed exciting progress in the past few years and is now leading Canada on many fronts: population, immigration, GDP per capita, education, employment rate, labour productivity, and life satisfaction. Today’s meeting reaffirmed federal and provincial commitments to continue working together to fuel this momentum, position the region for continued growth, and align efforts and resources to support long-term prosperity throughout the region.
“Since its inception, the Atlantic Growth Strategy has been a key forum for discussion between Atlantic federal Ministers and Premiers. The results of those conversations are felt and seen across the region – whether through infrastructure investments, clean energy projects, or increased immigration. Today’s meeting was an opportunity for us to take stock of what has been achieved, and look to the future as we continue to build a vibrant Atlantic economy.”
– The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities
“The Atlantic Growth Strategy is accelerating the momentum of economic growth in our region and helping to ensure that everyone in our communities can benefit from this transformation. Together, we are building a stronger, more resilient, and inclusive Atlantic Canada that is becoming a hub for skilled talent, innovation, and clean energy technology.”
– The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“New Brunswick, along with the rest of Atlantic Canada, is experiencing unprecedented growth with more people settling here and more jobs being created. Federal and provincial governments must work together to maintain this momentum so that we can bring even greater prosperity to our region to make life more affordable for everyone. When we focus on improving the lives of Atlantic Canadians, we can achieve great things.”
– The Honourable Blaine Higgs, Premier of New Brunswick
“Atlantic Canada is a vibrant and forward-thinking region, and the Atlantic Growth Strategy displays that. Through this Strategy we see strong government collaboration on issues that matter to us all, and together we set priorities to continue making this region stronger. I am pleased to gather with my federal and provincial colleagues to celebrate our achievements and discuss our priorities in this region that I am proud to call home.”
– The Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
“The Atlantic Growth Strategy is an essential forum for collaboration between our government and the Atlantic provinces to foster a stronger and more vibrant economy for Atlantic Canadians. This forum helps people every day, whether it be through vital infrastructure investments or connecting rural communities to high-speed Internet across our region. The meeting today only reaffirmed our shared commitment to continue building an economy that works for every Atlantic Canadian.”
– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development
“A strong Atlantic Canada means a strong Prince Edward Island. I’m pleased that we have renewed the Atlantic Growth Strategy and our commitment to further strengthening the region. The Atlantic Growth Strategy has meant greater connectivity and prosperity for both urban and rural communities and we remain committed to continuing this growth for all Islanders and Atlantic Canadians for years to come.”
– The Honourable Lawrence MacAulay, Minister of Veterans Affairs and Associate Minister of National Defence
“Atlantic Canada’s success depends on unity and collaboration. The Atlantic Growth Strategy brings our provinces together to take on our common issues and find the best solutions. We’ve got a lot to do – create good jobs, grow our communities, protect our environment – and we’ve got a plan to get it done.”
– The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Labour
“As Chair of the Council of Atlantic Premiers, I am committed to working with our regional and federal partners to deliver results for Prince Edward Island residents and Atlantic Canadians. Enhancing federal collaboration creates opportunities to drive innovation in shared priorities, such as housing, immigration, and clean growth. It will also be a key factor in finding the balance between reducing emissions and ensuring energy costs are affordable for Atlantic Canadians as we move toward net-zero.”
– The Honourable Dennis King, Premier of Prince Edward Island
“The progress that has been achieved to date through the Atlantic Growth Strategy is attributed to the power of our partnerships. Together with the federal government, and our fellow Atlantic provinces, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is pleased with the work that has been undertaken to transform and grow the economy of Atlantic Canada. While much is being accomplished, we continue to stress the importance of making life more affordable for Atlantic Canadians – particularly given the recent increases in fuel pricing – and are committed to continuing these conversations with the federal government. We look forward to continuing efforts to strengthen regions and communities across a broad spectrum of areas to get real results for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, and all Atlantic Canadians.”
– The Honourable Dr. Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador
- The Atlantic Growth Strategy is a set of pan-Atlantic, federal-provincial initiatives that are accelerating the momentum of the Atlantic Canadian economy through a collaborative, results-based approach to economic development.
- Since the AGS 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.
- The Public Policy Forum has published the Atlantic Canada Momentum Index, a report that provides insight into data proving positive upward trends and accelerated momentum across key social and economic indicators.
- Infographic: Atlantic Growth Strategy
SOURCE Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency