FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government will be introducing a comprehensive economic growth plan to better co-ordinate government resources as it works towards growing the economy.

“Our government understands that growing the economy, creating jobs and securing health care and education are important to people,” said Economic Development Minister Francine Landry. “We are working hard on these priorities, and, with the support of New Brunswickers, we are getting things done.”

The plan is the result of consultation with hundreds of leaders across the province. It will set out the framework for driving the province’s economy forward. It will be a directional plan, outlining how the government will ensure a co-ordinated, complementary effort to improve New Brunswick's economy and realize maximum benefits. The plan is designed to be a guide for both government and the private sector to channel efforts for greater success.

To achieve sustainable economic growth, the provincial government has been focusing on five areas for action:

  • People – strengthen our workforce;
  • Innovation – expand our capacity for idea generation and innovation;
  • Capital – grow private-sector investment;
  • Infrastructure – foster investment from the public and private sectors in strategic infrastructure; and
  • Agility – foster agility and nimbleness in the public sector and across the economy.

As a result, there have been several positive economic trends:

  • Last year New Brunswick’s economy grew at its fastest rate since 2010, and is showing signs of continued growth into 2016.
  • Retail sales have increased for 11 of the last 12 quarters, and the first quarter of 2016 saw gains of 9.4 per cent, the highest quarterly growth rate since the first quarter of 2010.
  • Spending was up 29 per cent for major projects in New Brunswick in 2015 – this will grow another five per cent in 2016.
  • New Brunswick added 5,000 net new jobs in July, with 3,800 of them being full-time. From July 2015 to July 2016, the employment levels have increased by 6,700, the second greatest increase in jobs in the country.
  • Average weekly earnings in New Brunswick in June 2016 rose to $879. The three per cent improvement compared to June 2015 was the largest increase in the country.

The Economic Growth Plan will chart a new approach to economic development to identify the real opportunities and advantages available to New Brunswick.

“We have clear strengths in agriculture and aquaculture," said Landry. "We have an ample wood supply and new uses for wood pulp. We have significant deposits of the minerals that are essential to the modern technology-based economy. We have opportunities in experiential tourism, cybersecurity, intelligent electricity grids, online commerce, next-generation customer contact centres, export-oriented services and educational exports. And this just scratches the surface of what is possible. There are many more potential opportunities to grow our economy.”

The government will be putting resources into building the partnerships needed to ensure these opportunities and others are properly assessed and developed to their full potential. It plans to focus on comparative advantages, and match entrepreneurs and investments with opportunities.

“The Economic Growth Plan will be ambitious but achievable. It will hold the key to creating significant growth across all regions of our province, producing benefits for generations to come,” said Landry. “It will establish the conditions for a growing economy, well-paying jobs, a higher standard of living and sustainable public services. Above all, it will be a plan that draws on the unique assets we already possess.”