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Financial Assistance for Steel and Aluminum Users

On March 11, 2019, the Government of Canada announced the Steel and Aluminum Initiative across Canada. The intent is to help Canadian, downstream, SME steel and aluminum users to access non-repayable funding. Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is delivering the funding program in western Canada.

Who can apply?

The program is available to SME intensive users of steel or aluminum across western Canada with 10 to 499 employees.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • businesses such as: partnerships, social enterprises, incorporated companies, corporations or co-operatives, or an indigenous organization such as Indigenous/First Nation/Métis Settlement owned businesses, and all other types of enterprises
  • for-profit legal entities capable of entering into legally binding agreements
  • employ between 10 to 499 individuals on a full-time basis in Canada
  • intensive users of steel or aluminum (i.e., steel and/or aluminum expenditures are equal to or greater than 20 percent of total input costs)
  • capable of demonstrating plans for projects pursuing productivity enhancements, and/or innovations to augment firm competiveness
Which costs and activities are eligible?

All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities.

Costs that are deemed unreasonable, or not directly related to project activities will be ineligible for reimbursement. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Basic and applied research;
  • Land and buildings acquisition;
  • Goodwill;
  • Entertainment expenses;
  • Salary bonuses and dividend payments;
  • Allowance for interest on invested capital, bonds, debentures, and other debts;
  • Losses on investments, bad debts and associated expenses, other projects and contracts;
  • Refinancing of existing debts;
  • Amortization or depreciation of assets;
  • Federal and provincial income taxes, GST (recoverable portion), taxes or surtaxes on excess profit;
  • Provisions for contingencies;
  • Lobbying activities or commissions paid to consultants to secure funding; and
  • Donations, dues and membership fees.

Costs incurred prior to application submission date will not be eligible.

The types of projects that can receive funding are activities such as:

  • Productivity Improvement: acquiring, adapting, adopting new technologies, and/or processes; process re-engineering; improving manufacturing capacity.
  • Business Scale-Up: market development/expansion; diagnostics; adopting best management practices, processes, and systems; business opportunity development.
  • Technology Commercialization: late stage product development geared toward market diversification and growth, such as technology showcasing and technology demonstration.
How to apply

Submissions to the Regional Economic Development through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative must include:

  • A completed application form, with a request of at least $150,000 and no more than $1 million.
  • A project description, including objectives.
  • A funding summary detailing all sources of funding of the project and listing the various costs you will incur in the implementation of the project.
  • A management description regarding your organizational capacity to complete this project and a list of those who will lead the project.
  • Project timelines, including an estimation of the direct economic benefits to your organization resulting from the project.
  • Details regarding the public and innovation benefits of the project.
  • The company's audited financial statements for the past 3 years. If audited statements are not available for the current operating year, acceptable financial statement standards could include:
    • Review engagement;
    • Notice to reader; or
    • CFO attested, or by the CEO if a company does not have a CFO.

All of the details that need to be provided as part of the application are set out in the Applicant Guide found on this Government of Canada website:

  • A continuous intake of applications will be accepted, with priority given to applications received on or before April 8, 2019.
  • Once the funds are fully allocated, proposals will no longer be accepted.
  • Multiple and concurrent project submissions from the same applicant are not permitted.
Amount of funding
  • Minimum funding request of $150,000 up to a maximum of $1 million. Only one application per firm is permitted under the Initiative.
  • Contributions awarded will be based on the minimum amount required to carry out the project, and the level of innovation undertaken by the project.
  • Applicants are eligible to receive up to 45 percent of eligible projects costs (i.e., for strong innovation projects that represent a forward-looking strategy aimed at advancing productivity, competitiveness and the growth potential of the firm over time).
  • All contributions are non-repayable.
  • Total government assistance, from all sources (federal, provincial, municipal), will be limited to 75 percent of eligible costs.


How will your application be assessed?

Applications will be evaluated on their ability to achieve the Initiative's objectives (as set out on their website) and on their relative strengths in the following areas:

  • Financial capacity;
  • Management capability;
  • Market potential/demand;
  • Economic benefits;
  • Innovation benefits; and
  • Public benefits.

Still need help? Our Business Counsellors are available to CFIB members at 1-888-234-2232 or by email