Rural Areas Still Forgotten : The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce is Still Disappointed.

FREDERICTON, NB, March 19, 2024 – The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce notes with great disappointment the absence of several structuring measures to concretely help the economy of Cap-Acadie and rural francophone regions in the New Brunswick 2024-2025 budget tabled by the Minister of Finance Ernie Steeves on Tuesday afternoon.

“The Government of New Brunswick continues to turn a deaf ear, year after year, to the issues that affect rural business and New Brunswickers. Rural regions need support to implement innovative economic and workforce development strategies,” begins Anthony Azard, Chief Executive Officer of the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce.

The Government of New Brunswick has once again tabled a surplus budget, which comes as no surprise to the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce. This budget leaves us with many questions, as New Brunswick faces a multitude of crises in various sectors.


More than ever, the province’s Chambers of Commerce are active on social issues that have a major impact on the business community. Once again this year, the lack of housing in New Brunswick is the focus of attention. Despite the announcement of measures in recent months, such as the Housing Pre-Construction and Infrastructure Fund, the bureaucracy involved in launching these initiatives does not do justice to the current crisis.

“I feel like I’ve been repeating myself since last year’s budget. In Cap-Acadie, where the rental housing occupancy rate has reached its maximum capacity in recent years, despite housing construction, this is still a major obstacle to the growth of our businesses, to the recruitment of labour and to economic development in the municipality,” reiterates the organization’s CEO.

The amounts announced in today’s budget will not be enough to alleviate the housing crisis. In Cap-Acadie, according to a recent study by economist Richard Saillant, an additional 2,500 housing units are needed by 2030 to address the housing crisis.


For some years now, the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying for personalized support from government bodies to attract investment and create diversified jobs in rural areas.

“Following the local governance reform, the New Brunswick government created another level of government for a new component: regional economic development within the Regional Services Commissions. Currently, the establishment of economic development departments puts a damper on economic development in rural municipalities by taking the regionalization approach. In the current context of economic growth, the bureaucracy in Fredericton is becoming increasingly cumbersome,” says Anthony Azard, CEO of the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce.

The creation of economic development departments within Regional Services Commissions adds a bureaucratic and administrative burden that complicates project management for rural Chambers of Commerce, which already had a mandate for municipal economic development. This addition has become a duplication of the role of Chambers of Commerce, which have a much longer history than the economic development departments of Regional Services Commissions in New Brunswick.

The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce is calling on the New Brunswick government to support more projects in rural areas through the Regional Development Corporation, particularly through its Rural Economy Fund.

“We need capital projects to develop rural New Brunswick, including Cap-Acadie. Our regions are in dire need of investment from the New Brunswick government. It must be a key partner with municipalities, including the municipal council of the Regional Town of Cap-Acadie, to ensure that our region prospers as effectively as Greater Moncton and other urban centers in the province,” says Mr. Azard.

The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce aims to contribute to the economic growth of rural areas by establishing itself as an economic development partner for rural coastal regions.

“We know what’s at stake in our regions. We know the challenges. We are the foundation of economic development in Cap-Acadie. We are in the best position to develop our businesses. So, it’s essential to reconsider how the New Brunswick Chambers of Commerce can play an active role in regional economic development,” continues Anthony Azard.


The issue of transportation accessibility, notably via Highway 15, continues to be sidelined. A link that facilitated the transportation of citizens from Moncton’s urban core to our coastal regions would maximize the workforce, making it more accessible to businesses in rural areas.

“The fact that such measures were not included in the budget comes as no surprise to the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce. One of the main issues in international recruitment is access to housing, followed by transportation. By promoting a public transit link on Highway 15, we’d be able to recruit the necessary manpower in regions other than those directly involved in business recruitment,” concludes the organization’s CEO.

The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce, which today represents 190 members, hopes that provincial departments, services or bodies will propose projects or initiatives to the Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce over the coming year, in order to meet the expectations of its members and the citizens of the regional town of Cap-Acadie.

The Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce will continue to represent the interests of businesses to various government bodies, including the provincial government, provincial MLAs and community partners.


For information or interviews
Anthony Azard
Chief Executive Officer, Cap-Acadie Chamber of Commerce
(506) 531-5375, ext. 500

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