SAINT JOHN (GNB) – The provincial government is committing up to $10 million over 10 years to support economic development in the Greater Saint John region.

The announcement follows a recent agreement among municipalities to support a new regional model of economic development.

“The spirit of co-operation shown by municipalities in Greater Saint John serves as a fine example for other regions of the province,” said Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “These communities are looking beyond their municipal boundaries and working together for the greater good. Our government is pleased to recognize this collaborative and historic effort through a multi-year commitment to employment and population growth initiatives.”

The funding will go to a new regional economic development agency to procure labour market and population growth programming and services, thereby benefitting businesses and residents.

“Having the provincial government as a financial partner sets the example of what can be achieved by working together as a region and demonstrates the commitment of the government in support of economic development efforts building on the past with a vision of the future. Economic Development Greater Saint John, with its focus on workforce development, is pleased to partner with the province to bring this funding to the new agency,” said Ron Gaudet, CEO of Economic Development Greater Saint John.

The proposed model would involve the transition of Discover Saint John, Develop Saint John, Economic Development Greater Saint John and the City of Saint John’s Population Growth service into one regional agency. The agency would work to support a common vision of growth for the region, including the communities of Saint John, Grand Bay-Westfield, Rothesay, Quispamsis, St. Martins and Hampton.

The initial funding contract is for five years, beginning in 2021-22; if all municipalities remain in agreement, the contract will be renewed for another five years. The success of this funding will be measured by monitoring employment levels, population growth and other indicators.