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July 3, 2015
For immediate release

Province announces program to expand advanced marine technology sector

Economic Development and Tourism

The provincial government will support the growth of the marine technology sector, fostering an environment to attract companies to the Island and to expand existing operations, says Minister of Economic Development and Tourism Heath MacDonald.

“Today we open a new chapter in our province’s rich marine history, and we unveil an important component of Sales Force PEI,” said Minister MacDonald. “This new program will encourage the province’s existing advanced marine technology companies to expand, and provide development support to new companies to open for business on the Island. The ultimate goal is to foster the development of an advanced marine technology cluster of companies that can work collaboratively to make our province a marine technology hub, thereby expanding the provincial economy, increasing exports and providing skilled, high paying jobs for Islanders.”

The new program will provide a rebate on provincial corporate taxes if the company employs 15 people, or more, reaches $700-thousand in payroll and develops exportable advanced marine technology.

Today’s announcement coincided with the arrival of representatives from six European marine technology companies who are on Island to explore possible opportunities and partnerships. The companies were encouraged to visit the province during an Innovation PEI led trade mission to Europe earlier this year. Several of the companies are already doing business with Island based firms like Aspin Kemp Associates, Marinenav and Portsmouth Atlantic. The companies were presented with the new program today.

The announcement is especially timely. Several initiatives are being undertaken nation-wide that will have a major impact on the marine sector. They include the National Ship Building Strategy, the Frigate Life Extension project, and the procurement of ten additional vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard. The Great Lakes Fleets are also undertaking their first overhauls in thirty years. As many as eighteen modern ships will be designed to reduce the industry's environmental impact. All told, that represents more than $40 billion in marine procurement activities over the next decade in Canada alone.

Prince Edward Island’s new advanced marine technology sector will encompass much more than just shipbuilding. The sector will include the oil and gas industry, offshore wind and tidal energy, defense and workboats. The province will target innovative companies who produce niche products.

“Prince Edward Island has seen direct benefits from development support aimed at expanding the aerospace and defense industries in the province and today we are announcing a new program that will look to do the same for the advanced marine technology sector,” said Minister MacDonald. “The support we’ve provided the aerospace and defense industries have helped create over nine hundred high paying jobs for Islanders. Those industries now represent close to $420 million in annual exports. Our goal with this new program is to grow the marine technology sector in much the same way. We are confident this emerging sector will continue to grow and will result in more jobs for Islanders, as well as export and economic growth.”

Sales Force PEI will be the most ambitious business prospecting program in the province’s history. It will bring together business leaders, government agencies and industry organizations to form policies and strategies aimed at growing the provincial economy, expanding exports and providing new jobs for Islanders.

Media Contact: Andrew Sprague
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