Automation creates jobs, increases productivity at Nova Scotia companies

News release

Six Nova Scotian steel and aluminum companies benefit from advanced manufacturing machinery, robotics and modernization

August 15, 2019 – Musquodoboit Harbour, NS – Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Canadian steel and aluminum companies that embrace automated machining are reducing waste, better utilizing skilled labour, increasing production quality and providing good jobs for Canadians. The Steel and Aluminum Initiative, announced in March 2019, will help steel and aluminum manufacturing businesses grow and modernize thanks to new automated technologies.

Today, the Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced contributions totaling $2,479,501 to six steel and aluminum manufacturers in Nova Scotia. The announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA). Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada and Member of Parliament for Central Nova, also took part in the announcement.

Thanks to these contributions, the six companies will improve their productivity and ultimately increase their revenues, supporting well-paying jobs across the province while ensuring their future viability and competitiveness.

The funding is being provided under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) Steel and Aluminum Initiative. Canada’s steel and aluminum sector is an important contributor to our economy and to our manufacturing supply chains, providing thousands of Canadians with good middle-class jobs. This funding initiative provides small and medium-sized businesses with consistent support across all regions of Canada, while tailoring support to meet regional needs. 


“Our government is committed to increasing opportunities for all Canadians and businesses. The Canadian steel and aluminum industries are vital for regional economies across our country. Today’s contributions will support small and medium-sized producers of steel and aluminum and help them innovate to drive productivity and expand into new markets, creating good middle-class jobs.”

     – The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains,         Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

“The Canadian manufacturing sector is growing and evolving. Steel and aluminum companies are driving our economy and providing good jobs for communities in rural Nova Scotia as well as across the country. By investing in their success, we are investing in the success of all Canadians.”

     – Sean Fraser, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Member of         Parliament for Central Nova

“This investment in advanced technology is not only exciting for us at MacKenzie Atlantic, it’s a win for the manufacturing sector in Atlantic Canada. It will allow us to drive production, attract sales opportunities from outside Canada, and provide new, high-tech skills to our staff – skills that will help pave the way for the future of our company and support the economy of the Eastern Shore of Nova Scotia.”

     – Matthew MacKenzie, President & CEO, MacKenzie Atlantic Tool & Die / Machining

“By modernizing Tri-Star’s manufacturing processes and making key equipment upgrades, this project will enable Tri-Star to increase capacity, scale up for new markets and accelerate the development of new products.”

     – Blair Cottreau, President and Chief Executive Officer, Tri-Star Industries Limited

“The investment into our facility allows East Coast Metal Fabrication to expand into the fast-growing aquaculture industry. It diversifies our capabilities in a new growth market by complementing our key assets and skilled workforce. This will provide growth and stability outside of steel and aluminum fabrication for us.”

     – Joe Hines, Chief Operating Officer, East Coast Metal Fabrication

“Pick-and-place robotics will allow IMO Foods to increase production, improving the utilization of available labour and resources within the company.”

     – Phil LeBlanc, President, IMO Foods Limited

“Hawboldt will be investing in new machinery and expanded testing grounds, allowing us to market larger offshore marine cranes to our customers worldwide. We are proud to continue designing and building our equipment right here in Nova Scotia.”

     – Dylan Wells, Sales Manager, Hawboldt Industries Limited

“The addition of high speed manufacturing equipment will allow Waldale to significantly improve its output and speed of production for license plates. It will also provide additional capacity to take on more work and further improve service metrics and turnaround times for our customers.” 

     - Todd Lawrence, President and CEO, Waldale Manufacturing Limited

Quick facts

  • Government of Canada steel and aluminum contributions announced include:

    ·          MacKenzie Atlantic Tool & Die | Machining is receiving $550,000 for two Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and a robot to load and unload the machine, creating a fully automated production line that will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This project will create two full- time positions and position the company to grow further by attracting new, international contracts to the region.

    ·          Tri-Star Industries Limited is receiving $550,000 to purchase    new equipment and expand its ambulances and emergency response vehicles manufacturing facility. This project will                  create nine permanent jobs and maintain more than 60 full-            time positions.

    ·          East Coast Metal Fabrication is receiving $500,000 to improve its infrastructure so it can diversify its operations to include aquaculture construction. This project will allow the company to produce automated feeding barges for salmon farming, creating 30 well-paying jobs.

    ·          IMO Foods Limited is receiving $325,000 for a robotic sterilization system. The system will increase production by 25 per cent. This project will help the company meet increased domestic and export sales goals and will create 10 jobs.

    ·          Hawboldt Industries Limited is receiving $306,602 for automated manufacturing equipment to produce brass castings for fishing boat shafts, as well as build an on-site bed to test large marine cranes. The new base will increase the size of crane the company can build, expanding its market opportunities and creating three skilled jobs.

    ·          Waldale Manufacturing Limited is receiving $247,899 for new high-speed manufacturing equipment to produce license plates. This project will allow the company to improve quality control, output volume and production speed and will create up to 10 jobs.

  • In 2018, Canada’s steel and aluminum industry employed more than 33,500 Canadians and contributed $8.9 billion to the total value of goods produced and services provided in Canada.

  • The Government of Canada, through ACOA, is committed to helping Atlantic Canadian manufacturers integrate new, innovative technologies into their traditional practices. ACOA’s Advanced Manufacturing Technology Assessments are a new initiative designed to help manufacturers looking for innovative solutions to increase their efficiency, productivity and competitiveness.

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Associated links


Dani Keenan
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Chris Brooks
Director, Communications and Outreach
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
902-426-9417 / 902-830-3839 (cell)

Matthew MacKenzie
MacKenzie Atlantic Tool & Die | Machining
902-889-3047MacKenzie Atlantic Tool & Die | Machining

Blair Cottreau
President & CEO
Tri-Star Industries Limited

Joe Hines
East Coast Metal Fabrication

Phil LeBlanc
IMO Foods Limited

Dylan Wells
Sales Manager
Hawboldt Industries Limited

Todd Lawrence
Waldale Manufacturing Ltd.

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