Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Inaugural Atlantic Economic Forum set to take place at StFX’s Brian Mulroney Institute of Government June 19-21

May 10th, 2023
The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX will host the first-ever Atlantic Economic Forum from June 19-21



Helping Atlantic communities grow and succeed will top the agenda when the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at St. Francis Xavier University hosts the first-ever Atlantic Economic Forum from June 19-21. 

The Forum will bring together an impressive roster of leaders, including former Canadian prime minister, the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, the Honourable Frank McKenna, and all four Atlantic Canada provincial premiers, to connect and focus on the challenges and opportunities facing Atlantic Canada for renewed growth.

“It’s an Atlantic-wide, retreat-style discussion on economic development opportunities and issues for the region at a unique moment in time,” says Dr. Richard Isnor, Acting Director, Mulroney Institute of Government. 

Dr. Isnor says the event comes at a critical time, when the economy is in the forefront of people’s minds and we need to think about it differently. 

Things are changing rapidly in the post-pandemic region, he says with the reversal in population decline, increasing immigration, housing shortages, growth in new, innovative companies and in the tech sector, a rapid shift to the green economy, and significant urban revival.

The changing landscape is creating new opportunities and challenges. The Forum will bring together business, government, academic and thought leaders and investment organizations in the economic development space to talk about where the region is in terms of development, what are the future directions, and how can that growth be inclusive for all, including for underserved communities, rural communities, and youth. 

The event is open for registration and is being actively promoted across Atlantic Canada through social media. Any individuals interested in Atlantic Canada’s economic future are encouraged to register and attend. A strong media presence is expected to participate to report on the discussions taking place.

“This event is bringing our different perspectives together on complex policy issues, and it is doing it at the right time. It’s an opportunity for the Atlantic region to come together and to work together at a time when things in Canada are changing really quickly,” Dr. Isnor says.  

The Forum will also bring in national organizations interested in this conversation, including Coalition for a Better Future, co-chaired by the Honourable Lisa Raitt and the Honourable Anne McLellan, featured speakers on the second evening. 

"I'm delighted to return home to Nova Scotia and participate as a St. Francis Xavier University alumna in the inaugural Atlantic Economic Forum. This event is not only exciting but also essential for shaping our economy's future. Through collaboration and idea exchange, we can promote innovation, spur growth, and build a more prosperous future for everyone in the Atlantic region,” Ms. Raitt says.  

“As the co-chair of the Coalition for a Better Future, I'm eager to present the findings of our latest Scorecard report and showcase Canada's progress towards achieving long-term, inclusive, and sustainable economic growth."

The forum will feature six thematic panels that will focus on topics such as the green economy, Indigenous economic development, the evolving labour force, and the evolving agri-food and fisheries sectors. Representatives from several investment firms and funds across Atlantic Canada and beyond have already confirmed to attend.

Panelists and speakers at the event will include such leaders as Annette Verschuren, Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc. and former President, Home Depot Canada; Karen Oldfield, CEO of Nova Scotia Health; Chief Terry Paul, Membertou First Nation; Dr. Sylvain Charlebois, Dalhousie University; Jennifer Wagner, a Breakthrough Energy Fellow based in PEI; Michelle Simms, CEO of Genesis in Newfoundland and Labrador; Dr. Herb Emery, Vaughan Chair in Regional Economics, University of New Brunswick; Andrew Parkin, CEO, Environics; and Kelley Lendsey, CEO, Indigenous Works.  

A special guest will be Ken Langone, CEO of Invemed, a U.S.-based investment firm that was responsible for organizing financing of The Home Depot. Mr. Langone will share an external and international perspective on investing for economic success with participants.

Dr. Isnor says there is a real need to have a broad range of leaders come together, including from the investment community, to talk about what’s needed to help our communities grow and succeed.

Additionally, the forum will give key policy leaders an opportunity to come together at the event’s conclusion to discuss what they’ve heard and to talk about future direction. 

The Brian Mulroney Institute of Government at StFX, a setting dedicated to the study of leadership and interdisciplinary discourse, provides an ideal, retreat-like environment that allows for this possibility, he says.  

Dr. Isnor says the Honourable Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship and the local MP, as well as Mr. Mulroney, and Mr. McKenna, have been key architects of the idea and have played a lead role in championing the Forum, which he says was fortunate to engage support and funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

At StFX, the internal steering committee is chaired by Mulroney Distinguished Fellow Dr. Doug Brown and includes economics professor Dr. Greg Tkacz and Schwartz School of Business professor Dr. Bobbi Morrison. The event is supported by NATIONAL Public Relations and members of the broader StFX community.  


Atlantic Economic Forum sponsors confirmed to date include the Government of Nova Scotia through Invest Nova Scotia; Emera; Everwind Fuels, the Schwartz School of Business at StFX, and the Business Council of Canada.

For more information or to register, please see HERE. 

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