Whither ACOA?

This is from APEC’s commentary on the federal budget:

The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) is being given $19 million per year, starting in 2010-2011, to extend its Atlantic Innovation Fund (which provides funding for businesses and research institutes to develop and commercialize new technologies) and to support its Innovative Communities Fund (which helps communities adapt to new economic realities and opportunities). However, this announcement appears to imply a substantial reduction in funding. Launched in 2001, the original Atlantic Innovation Fund provided $300 million over 5 years, which was renewed at the same level of funding in 2005. Neither was there any announcement to renew the broader Atlantic Investment Partnership which also included funding for trade and investment initiatives.

6 thoughts on “Whither ACOA?

  1. Oh good, now Peter MacKay will have more money to hand out to Pictou County, Nova Scotia. Too bad Northumberland County couldn’t get the same amount from Mr. MacKay

  2. That is a large drop. It appears that the funding has been made ongoing as opposed to for a certain term.
    The $19 million is also to support the Innovative Communities Fund http://www.acoa.ca/English/ImLookingFor/ProgramInformation/Pages/ProgramDetails.aspx?ProgramID=6

    Are the ongoing project status reports from AIF projects made public? The only thing I can find on the website are what projects received what amount of money. It would be nice to be able to evaluate how successful the investment has been (as well as any AIF repayments).

  3. When it comes to the Federal Government, is “Wither ACOA” a command or a question?



  4. In February, 2010, I had a recent discussion about the future of ACOA with Jim Flaherty’s deputy minister, Michael Horgan (who is himself a former president of ACOA). Mr. Horgan made no effort to conceal the fact that the federal government is reviewing all transfers to the provinces including the AIF, to reflect the changing fiscal temper. When asked whether this meant that the AIF was in jeopardy, he responded that it was too early to make any determination about specific programs but also stated that, to his knowledge, nothing was off the table.

    While we should not be alarmist about the implications of the federal government’s review of a program that expires in 2013, it is incumbent on us to plan for the possibility that the transfer regime could be significantly truncated at some point. We are patently not ready for that in 2010.

  5. Probably has a lot to do with SODA being added during the recession when Ontario’s auto sector tanked. In other words, there wasn’t as much cash to earmark for regional development projects under ACOA and WED.

    The same thing that happened when DREE expanded its mandate to cover the island of Montreal thus scaling back funding levels for Atlantic Canada and parts of rural Quebec.

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