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Premiers, federal leaders visit Wolfville: Atlantic Growth Strategy to promote jobs, immigration

Navdeep Bains, federal minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, right, and Kings Hants MP Scott Brison, left, toured Acadia’s Tidal Institute while in Wolfville Jan. 27.
Navdeep Bains, federal minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, right, and Kings Hants MP Scott Brison, left, toured Acadia’s Tidal Institute while in Wolfville Jan. 27.

WOLFVILLE, NS - “It’s basically about jobs, growth and retention,” said Navdeep Bains, federal minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The Atlantic Canada's premiers met in Wolfville Jan. 27 with several premiers to discuss the Atlantic Growth Strategy – a $20 million, multi-year trade and investment program.

The meeting was hosted by federal Treasury Board president Scott Brison and Premier Stephen McNeil,  and on the agenda was growing exporting enterprises from 1,700 to 3,400 by 2025.

The Atlantic Canada's premiers met in Wolfville Jan. 27 with several premiers to discuss the Atlantic Growth Strategy – a $20 million, multi-year trade and investment program.

The meeting was hosted by federal Treasury Board president Scott Brison and Premier Stephen McNeil,  and on the agenda was growing exporting enterprises from 1,700 to 3,400 by 2025.

Wearing a Nova Scotia tartan tie, federal cabinet minister Navdeep Bains speaks with a group of students at Acadia University Jan. 26.

McNeil said the co-operative efforts began about a year ago with a “never before seen” flexibility between the two levels of government.

He said one of the aims of the program is to give as many of the 20,000 young people who come to the region for post-secondary studies in Atlantic Canada reasons “to stay, grow jobs and opportunities.”

Brison, the Kings-Hants MP, added that “we want to encourage more international students to not only come to Atlantic Canada colleges and universities, but to stay here and help us build our region.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said he wants to work with immigrant settlement groups to better integrate 2,000 skilled workers and their families into communities in the Atlantic region.

Hussen said that initiatives would be unrolled to bring three streams of new immigrations programs on line targeting new graduates, intermediate and highly-skilled workers.

He said the Atlantic Immigration Pilot will create exciting and new programs for ongoing economic growth.

Public Services Minister Judy Foote said that collaborative procurement efforts are likely with the provinces, territories, municipalities and organizations.

The Newfoundland-based minister suggested that for the first time ever, collaboration will increase buying power and share in the savings with common standing offers.

According to Foote, this practice started last year with Prince Edward Island in terms of ordering of office supplies. Four provinces have already signed on, she said.

Bains said that Atlantic Canadian businesses in every sector must be innovative, must attract, develop and retain skilled workers, and must diversify and expand to generate sustained economic growth.

Diversification is an aim, Bains added.

“Our prime minister wants us to be open to people, trade and ideas,” Bains added.

Fisheries minister Laurence MacAulay pointed to one of the key economies in Atlantic Canada as an example.

“The agriculture, food and seafood sector is a powerful economic driver here in the region,” he said. “We’re talking about exports of five point billion dollars and arm cash receipts of close to two billion dollars.”

MacAulay said his priority is “to ensure the overall competitiveness of this important sector.”

Brison termed the meetings indicative of an “unprecedented” partnership.

The other areas of discussion were clean growth, climate change and infrastructure.

He noted that roundtables at Acadia University and St. Mary’s University this week with students looked at how to “attract and retain talent, and help them find and create good jobs in Atlantic Canada now and for the future.”

The all-Liberal meeting was deemed part of an on going effort to "identify shared priorities" and to "align actions with national and provincial priorities," according to a release.

 

Did you know?

The federal ministers and Atlantic premiers also announced the appointment of Nova Scotian Henry Demone as chair of the new Atlantic Growth Advisory Group. The other members will be selected soon.

The group will provide advice to both levels of government on pan-Atlantic collaborative approaches and action to advance growth in the region.

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