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Atlantic investment spending recovering from COVID-19

Date: June 10, 2021

For Immediate Release

HALIFAX (June 10, 2021) – Capital spending on major projects is expected to increase by 8% in 2021 to $10.5 billion after a significant drop in 2020 due to COVID-19, according to the Atlantic Investment Outlook released this morning by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC). This report summarizes the key findings of APEC’s 2021 Major Projects Inventory.

“Spending will increase in all four Atlantic provinces in 2021 with the strongest gains in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick,” says David Chaundy, APEC President and CEO. “Newfoundland and Labrador will see the smallest increase in investment.”

Spending in most sectors is recovering from the lower investment in 2020. Housing and health care spending will be two of the biggest contributors to investment growth this year. Offshore oil and gas investment is expected to remain below last year’s level but remains the second most important sector for potential future investment.

“COVID-19 contributed to the loss of $4 billion in major project investment in Atlantic Canada in 2020 and 2021 as projects were delayed or put on hold,” says Chaundy. In addition, a number of large projects in 2019 could have potentially got underway but were postponed due to COVID-19, including offshore oil, mining and LNG projects. These projects amount to an additional $7 billion in postponed or cancelled investments due to COVID-19.    

APEC’s 2021 Major Projects Inventory identifies 489 capital projects in various stages of development throughout Atlantic Canada, with a total value of nearly $150 billion, up 4% from last year’s Inventory.A major project is any capital project valued at $25 million or more.

Provincial Highlights

Newfoundland and Labrador

  • APEC has identified 106 projects in Newfoundland and Labrador totalling $43 billion.
  • Spending in 2021 is forecast to rise 2% from last year to $3.6 billion, still well below recent levels.This year’s modest increase is aided by higher investment in mine development and exploration.

Prince Edward Island

  • APEC has identified 67 projects in Prince Edward Island totalling $2.7 billion.
  • Spending in 2021 is up 19% from 2020 to more than $650 million, almost double the level seen in 2017.This continues a trend of rapidly increasing spending fueled by public infrastructure and housing projects. Higher electricity and education spending are also supporting this year’s gains.

Nova Scotia

  • APEC has identified 201 projects in Nova Scotia totalling $78 billion.
  • Spending in 2021 will reach a record high of $4 billion, up at least 9% from last year.Investment gains this year are boosted by health care redevelopments and housing developments. Spending could be even higher if the Goldboro LNG project moves ahead this year.  

New Brunswick

  • APEC has identified 115 projects in New Brunswick totaling $25 billion.
  • Spending in 2021 is up 15% to $2.2 billion as investment recovers from the effects of COVID-19, with higher investment on housing and transportation.

To obtain a copy of the Atlantic Investment Outlook or Major Projects Inventory or to arrange an interview with David Chaundy, APEC President & CEO, please contact:

Erica Parrill 
Communications & Events Manager
Atlantic Provinces Economic Council
c: 902.877-2159


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