Vol. 39, No. 2, Summer 2004
In 2001, the total value of subsidies to businesses in Atlantic Canada was $648 million. That said, the vast majority of subsidies from all three levels of government in Canada are paid to firms in central and western Canada. In all four Atlantic provinces, total business subsidies have been trending downwards over the last decade. Relative to GDP, total business subsidies in Atlantic Canada have remained close to the national average throughout the last 15 years. As a share of industry GDP, they were higher than national rates in 1999/2000 in certain sectors. This reflects, in part, a regional focus on value-added resource-based and advanced manufacturing, among others. About half of the “business” subsidies in the region are directed towards non-commercial objectives, such as social housing and important ferry routes. Substantial questions remain about the impact of these subsidies on the regional economy.