Gerdau Ameristeel, a major producer of long steel in the Americas and one of the world’s largest suppliers of special steel, has been awarded funding from the federal government to complete facility upgrades at its locations in Whitby and Cambridge, Ontario, and to help increase the organization’s global competitiveness.
Gerdau Ameristeel will receive $20 million in funding from the Government of Canada, through the Strategic Innovation Fund, to support the company’s $81.2 million upgrade project.
The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a federal funding program that provides support to Canada’s industrial and technology sectors in order to spur innovation and create jobs.
Canadian Government Funding Drives Gerdau Ameristeel’s Growth
Gerdau Ameristeel operates in 10 countries and employs 30,000 individuals. The organization is also one of the largest recyclers in the world, transforming millions of tons of scrap each year into new steel products for the construction, manufacturing, and transportation industries.
The investment from the Strategic Innovation Fund will allow Gerdau Ameristeel to complete facility upgrades in Whitby and Cambridge. Scrap metal shipped to these locations is transformed into long “billets” (semi-finished long steel products) and then shaped into angles, rebar, flats, or channels. These products give shape and strength to a range of structures, such as high-rise buildings and bridges, and provide a new use for metal that would otherwise be discarded. For example, the Whitby facility can shred and recover the metal from about 20,000 used cars per month.
Gerdau’s entire project will total $81.2 million, with $20 million provided by the Strategic Innovation Fund.
Funded upgrades will allow Gerdau Ameristeel to modernize its steel production lines, reduce costs for manufacturing, lower the amount of scrap metal going to landfills, and improve its production capability for billets. The project will also create 108 new jobs and maintain 710 existing jobs in Whitby and Cambridge.
Funding for Canadian Steel Manufacturing
Together, Canadian steel manufacturing and aluminum manufacturing employ more than 33,500 people and contribute $8.9 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product.
In 2018, the Government of Canada made available up to $250 million in new support for organizations through the Strategic Innovation Fund.
One of SIF’s aims with this investment is to provide funding for Canadian steel manufacturing and to enable steel and aluminum producers to enhance their production capabilities. As a result, the Strategic Innovation Fund has announced awards to support several Canadian steel and aluminum companies, including:
- EVRAZ (Regina, SK and Red Deer, AB): $40M to upgrade facilities and decrease emissions
- Algoma Steel Inc. (Sault Ste. Marie, ON): $90M to modernize core production assets, including steel rolling and steel plate mills
- ArcelorMittal (Hamilton, ON and Contrecoeur, QC): $49.9M to modernize facilities and enhance productivity
- Elysis (Montreal, QC; Alcoa Corporation and Rio Tinto Aluminum joint venture): $60M to commercialize new process for manufacturing aluminum with reduced emissions
- Alcoa Deschambault Aluminerie (Montreal, QC): $10M to acquire equipment for increased aluminum production
- Aluminerie Alouette (Sept-Iles, QC): $15M for adoption of new technologies
- Tenaris (Sault Ste. Marie, ON and Calgary, AB): $16M to improve mill performance and produce steel grades with a high resistance to corrosion
- Nova Tube Inc (Montreal, QC): $14M to enhance plans for faster, more accurate production
- Stelco (Hamilton and Lake Erie, ON): $49.9M to modernize steel production lines
About the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF)
Applications for Canadian government funding through SIF are open to organizations of all sizes across all of Canada’s industrial and technology sectors. The program has five streams, each with a unique objective: R&D and Commercialization, Firm Expansion & Growth, Investment Attraction and Reinvestment, Collaborative Technology Development & Demonstration, and National Ecosystems. The first three streams are open to individual for-profit organizations; the last two streams require collaboration. A consultant can help businesses navigate these program streams and determine project eligibility and competitiveness.
Canadian firms interested in learning about additional programs for research and development for advanced technologies are encouraged to check out Mentor Works’ Canadian Business Funding Guide.