Editor: On March 28, 2014, the Government of Canada tabled in Parliament a bill to implement measures outlined in Budget 2014. This bill contains two measures that are part of ACOA’s ongoing commitment to find efficiencies within our operations — the elimination of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Board and the ACOA Five-Year Report to Parliament.
In its early years, ACOA benefited from advice on its policies and programs from its private sector advisory board. However, over the years, ACOA has built solid, accountable management practices, rich policy capacity and an extensive network of business and other stakeholders with whom we consult regularly. Today, ACOA’s minister meets with a broad cross-section of Atlantic Canadian business and community leaders, diminishing the need for the ACOA Board. For our most technical program, the Atlantic Innovation Fund, the Minister will continue to benefit from the advice of the Atlantic Innovation Fund Board.
In early years, ACOA’s budget was on a five-year cycle, hence the need to report to Canadians on our results every five years. The Agency now has ongoing, permanent funding. As well, many more effective measures are now in place to ensure transparency, oversight and accountability of federal government operations, including the requirement for all federal departments to report on their results every year through Departmental Performance Reports to Parliament, making our Five-Year Report redundant.
By removing these two requirements we will be eliminating duplication without adversely affecting services to Atlantic Canadians and bringing ACOA more in line with how the other federal regional economic development agencies in the country operate.
Paul J. LeBlanc,