Eleven automotive manufacturing sector projects to get Strategic Innovation Fund support


January 17, 2018

The Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) is a $1.26-billion program announced in Budget 2017 that aims to attract and support high-quality business investments in Canada’s most dynamic and innovative sectors. This fund supports innovative business activities such as R&D projects, firm expansion, attraction of large-scale investments to Canada and collaborative technology demonstration projects.

Canadians will benefit directly from the well-paying middle-class jobs created through this program, as well as from the economic spin-offs generated and the technologies developed under this initiative. Investment in R&D promotes technology development within diverse sectors of the Canadian economy. In allocating this funding, the government will look to accelerate areas of economic growth, strengthen and expand the role of Canadian firms in regional and global supply chains, support economic strategies, and attract investment that creates new jobs.

In addition, this initiative promotes collaboration between industry and academic institutions (universities, colleges and research institutions), fostering technology transfer and the development of a highly skilled workforce.

About the support to the automotive manufacturing companies

On January 17, 2018, the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, announced an investment of $41 million in 11 automotive companies across the country. The automotive manufacturing projects funded through SIF are as follows:

Blue Solutions Canada Inc., of Boucherville, Quebec, will receive $9,043,135 to develop a high-performance, low-cost lithium metal polymer to make battery packs for passenger vehicles smaller and more efficient and improve their storage capacity.

SWITCH Materials Inc., of Burnaby, British Columbia, will receive $8,257,600 to develop and implement an advanced glazing technology to make vehicles lighter and, as a result, more efficient. The glazing would also help reduce vehicles’ gas emission.

Nova Steel Inc., of Woodstock, Ontario, will receive $7,436,750 to develop second-generation advanced high-strength steel (AHSS) as well as technologies to make its plant more efficient. This will help Nova Steel leverage current and future demands for AHSS for lighter vehicles and for electric and autonomous vehicles.

AGS Automotive Systems, of Toronto, Ontario, will receive $7,009,438 to produce lighter composite materials for introduction in the design and commercialization of high-stress, high-performance automotive parts such as battery trays, bumpers, steps for lighter trucks and front suspension tower systems.  

Sciemetric Instruments Inc., of Ottawa, Ontario, will receive $2,927,538 to advance its product to meet manufacturers’ next-generation needs within their overall business, bringing visibility into manufacturers’ processes and helping them with quality and cost.

JP Bowman Ltd. (o/a Bowman Precision Tooling), of Brantford, Ontario, will receive $2,657,500 to create a prototype of third-generation advanced high-strength steel “B” pillars, the main vertical bar between driver and passenger doors. This could help make vehicles lighter, more fuel efficient and safer.

Lakeside Plastics Ltd., of Tecumseh, Ontario, will receive $1,100,250 to develop innovative new molding processes for lightweight and more environmentally friendly material for vehicles.

Marwood Metal Fabrication Ltd., of Tillsonburg, Ontario, will receive $953,500 to develop a new production process using carbon fibre to manufacture lighter and stronger roof headers. This will help improve cars’ structural integrity while making them lighter and more fuel efficient.

Abraham Innovation Systems Inc., of Markham, Ontario, will receive $701,669 to develop technology that can inspect and repair painted vehicle bodies without any human intervention, thus meeting the growing demand for these types of systems.

Synergx Technologies Inc., of Laval, Quebec, will receive $782,401 to create a non-contact 3D glass inspection system that will be more precise, accurate and timely than existing systems.

Meridian Lightweight Technologies Inc., of Strathroy, Ontario, will receive $347,840 to build a strong magnesium joint to replace existing steel shock towers. This technology can help reduce vehicle weight by up to 57%, thus increasing fuel efficiency.

About Canada’s automotive manufacturing sector

Canadian automotive suppliers export parts globally and are integral to Canada’s automotive sector, accounting for over $34 billion in sales annually. Manufacturers are looking to meet the demands for fuel-efficient vehicles with sophisticated technologies, which create new opportunities for Canadian automotive suppliers to develop and supply components.

Canada has strengths in traditional automotive supply chains, including in tool, die and mould making, but it also has a large IT sector specializing more and more in products and solutions for the automotive sector. To take advantage of important opportunities and grow their business, automotive suppliers must innovate and make new product development a cornerstone of their business strategies.

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