Federal and provincial politicians met in Moncton this week to update progress on the Atlantic Growth Strategy, launched July 2016, that's designed to create jobs as well as attract and keep skilled workers.
Federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc says since the Atlantic Immigration Pilot began in March 2017, nearly 900 Atlantic Canadian companies have been designated to employ skilled foreign workers and international graduates.
"The program has recruited over 1,300 skilled immigrants and international students to the region, and more than 1,100 workers have received job offers, and can apply for permanent residency," says LeBlanc.
LeBlanc adds Atlantic Canada's Ocean Supercluster is one of five industry groups across the country chosen to receive federal funding.
"The Ocean Supercluster will see industry, post secondary and research institutions collaborate to improve competitiveness in Atlantic Canada's ocean based industries," explains LeBlanc. "These industries include fisheries, oil and gas, and clean energy, just to mention a few."
A news release provides further details of affected industries, including aquaculture, defence, shipbuilding, transportation, and ocean technology.
LeBlanc says the supercluster is projected to create more than 3,000 stable, good middle class jobs, and add more than $14 billion to Canada's economy over 10 years.
LeBlanc also announced that in order to grow exports and increase foreign investment opportunities, they are leading a trade mission to China this November.
He says in 2016, exports to China from Atlantic Canada were valued at more than $1.1 billion, marking a 14% increase from the previous year.
"This trade and investment mission is part of creating the most favourable conditions for Atlantic Canadian businesses to compete internationally, but also to attract foreign investment essential to our region as well," says LeBlanc.
A key focus of the mission is to capitalize on China's demand for goods and services, in particular within the food, seafood, and clean growth industries.
Since 2018 is the Canada-China Year of Tourism, ministers and premiers will also work on strengthening ties between both countries to increase tourism opportunities and recruit more Chinese students to study in Atlantic Canada.
LeBlanc says there has been a very significant growth in tourism, and according to Statistics Canada the number of travellers to Canada from Asia rose 7.2% in 2017 to 2.3 million, more than twice the figure recorded in 2009.
In the New Tourism Vision, the government is aiming to increase the number of international tourists to Canada by 30 percent by 2021, double the number of Chinese visitors by the same year, and position Canada to compete for a top 10 destination ranking by 2025.
LeBlanc also announced the expansion throughout Atlantic Canada of a Study and Stay Pilot Program currently in Nova Scotia, that aims to attract and retain international students.