Strategic Innovation Fund: Support for the Steel and Aluminum Industry

Canadian Steel and Aluminum Industry Funding from the Strategic Innovation Fund

Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors are top economic drivers. In 2017 alone, they employed close to 25,000 workers and contributed nearly $9 billion to the country’s GDP. Keeping these sectors globally competitive is vital to Canada’s overall economic well-being, which is why new measures have been put in place recently to protect steel and aluminum companies.

As part of the federal government’s response to U.S. tariffs against Canadian steel and aluminum exports, an additional $250 million in government funding has been allocated to the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF). Companies can apply for a portion of this funding to support innovative capital investment projects that reduce operating costs and improve profits.

Through the Strategic Innovation Fund, steel and aluminum companies can access up to 50% of eligible project costs. Exact amounts are decided on a case-by-case basis.

Eligible applicants should consider applying to the program early since this industry-specific funding pool is limited to $250 million. Additional funds may be available to steel and aluminum companies once this special allotment has been depleted; however, applying for support early can help reduce delays in the review and approval process.

Strategic Innovation Fund for Steel and Aluminum Companies

On June 29, 2018, the Government of Canada announced measures to defend and protect Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors that have been unfairly impacted by tariffs enacted by the United States. As part of a comprehensive support package, the government included $250 million in new support for companies who plan to overcome these new hardships by investing and becoming more competitive.

These funds will be managed through the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), a Canadian government funding program that offers grants and repayable funding to businesses.

The Strategic Innovation Fund maintains four streams of funding, all that seek to support investment into technologically-advanced products, processes, and services. Steel and manufacturing companies can access their new industry-specific support through SIF’s second stream, “Business Growth and Expansion.”

How much SIF funding is available?

Up to 50% of eligible project costs can be offset through SIF capital investment funding. Since funding is allocated on a project-by-project basis, steel and aluminum companies must provide a rationale for the importance of their project and why they’ve requested a certain amount of funding. Applications can be strengthened if companies ask for less than 50% of project costs and only request the minimum amount of funding needed to move ahead with the investment.

As with other streams of the Strategic Innovation Fund, projects may receive up to $50 million in funding. The type of funding contribution is determined by SIF’s review committee and can be awarded as either a non-repayable grant, repayable funding (government loans), or a combination of both.

What applicants are eligible to receive funding?

To qualify for the special allotment of funds provided for Canada’s steel and aluminum sectors, applicants must:

  • Operate in one of the metalworking industries affected by U.S. tariffs;
  • Be a small, medium, or large company;
  • Be incorporated; and
  • Operate within Canada.

What types of projects are considered?

A wide range of business investments will be considered for funding. This includes:

  • New equipment, production and process technologies; and
  • Workforce training and upskilling related to these new technologies and processes.

What activities and expenses can funding be requested for?

The Strategic Innovation Fund supports eligible one-time costs related to the project, including:

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  • Facility modifications;
  • Equipment;
  • Office hardware and software;
  • Materials;
  • Labour;

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  • Research and development;
  • Training;
  • New market access;
  • Travel; and
  • Legal and accounting fees.


How to Apply for SIF Steel and Aluminum Funding

To apply for the Strategic Innovation Fund, steel and aluminum companies must complete a two-phased application process, including a Statement of Intent (open application) and Full Application (invite only). Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, so eligible companies with suitable projects should consider starting the application process as soon as possible.

To review your business’ eligibility and learn how to optimize the application process, please contact Mentor Works.

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