As the first region of Canada to be explored and settled by Europeans, we have been the gateway between North America and the rest of the world for over five hundred years. We are also known for many firsts: Canada’s first manned flight, the first transatlantic cable and wireless transmissions, and the first-place finishes of the undefeated racing schooner, the Bluenose, to name just a few.

The common thread that links these accomplishments is innovation. In fact, our region has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a wealth of innovative ideas that we are increasingly turning into reality.

Diverse and thriving industry

Today, the four Atlantic Canadian provinces boast world-class R&D capabilities, cutting-edge institutions (17 universities and four community colleges), world-class digital capabilities, and preferential business costs – all of which help our region stand out as a leader in innovation in many diverse industries from agriculture and agri-food to information and communications technology, and a great place to live, work and invest. 

For example, Aerospace and Defence is a thriving industry in Atlantic Canada, comprising over 200 firms and employing over 10,000 skilled and experienced workers. It is a key driver of innovation and export growth, generating over $1 billion in annual revenues with exports to 180 countries around the world. That’s why multinationals like Lockheed Martin, Boeing and EADS have invested and are operating in our region.

"Our region has one of the fastest-growing and most innovative energy sectors in North America..."

Canada’s $38.6-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy selected Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax, Nova Scotia to build the next generation of Canada’s combat vessels.

This contract represents the largest component of the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard fleet renewal project and will provide tremendous opportunities for Atlantic Canada’s aerospace and defence firms, their business partners and supply chain companies for many years to come. 

Another innovative Atlantic Canadian industry is bioscience. Canada is one of the top nations in the world for biotechnology innovation and commercialization, and Atlantic Canada’s dynamic biotechnology industry features some of the top new firms in the country, with over $300 million in annual private sector revenues. 

Across our region, there are over 100 bioscience companies and 25 research organizations that are at the forefront of global research in human health, medical technologies and diagnostics, marine biology, vaccine diagnostics, pharmaceutical and therapeutics, animal and fish health products, and agricultural technology. 

Finally, Atlantic Canada is very fortunate to have a wealth of natural resources, including vast energy resources. Our region has one of the fastest-growing and most innovative energy sectors in North America, with major new projects in offshore oil and gas, hydroelectricity, the emerging shale gas sector, and, increasingly, in the clean and renewable sectors such as wind and tidal energy. 

Culture of entreprenuership 

Atlantic Canada’s bottom line is that we offer significantly lower operating costs for businesses, an entrepreneurial spirit, a highly-skilled and dedicated workforce, advanced and reliable telecommunications and transportation networks, close proximity to North American and international markets, and a quality of life that can’t be beaten anywhere. All of that is breeding a culture of innovation, and that’s Canada’s Atlantic Advantage.