Application guide: Support to the Steel and Aluminum Sector

Table of Contents

Part I: Initiative Details

Overview

Canada's steel and aluminum sectors are key contributors to the Canadian economy, providing well-paying jobs and key inputs for major industries.

As part of a heavily integrated North American Supply Chain, Canadian small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) users of steel and aluminum play an important role in transforming these inputs into finished or semi-finished products for the manufacturing, defence, aerospace, energy, automotive, and construction industries. However, global market dynamics have significantly impacted SMEs operating within Canadian steel and aluminum supply chains. In this environment, SME users of steel and aluminum are challenged to make investments to strengthen their productivity and competitiveness.

In response, on March 11, 2019 the Government of Canada announced the launch of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative. This new Initiative, delivered by regional development agencies (RDAs) across the country, is a $100 million program, that will provide non-repayable contributions to Canadian, downstream, SME steel and aluminum users for investments in innovative projects that will enhance productivity and/or augment firm competitiveness. These investments are expected to maintain and create jobs as well as promote economic growth through adoption of innovative technologies and processes.

On March 11, 2019 Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED) launched a call for project applications under the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative.

Priority will be given to applications received from March 11, 2019, to April 8, 2019, 23h59. Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis, beginning on March 11, 2019, until all funding has been fully allocated. SME intensive users of steel or aluminum (i.e., steel and/or aluminum expenditures equal to or greater than 20 percent of total input costs, i.e., total goods sold), are invited to submit a project application for funding consideration.

The Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative will provide non-repayable funding, ranging from $150,000 to $1 million to firms that are pursuing business growth and expansion by enhancing productivity/competitiveness. Funding decisions will take into account 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 total eligible projects costs. All project activities must be completed by March 31, 2020.

All project applications will be evaluated on their ability to achieve the Initiative's objectives and on their relative strengths in the following areas:

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

Only the strongest applications that demonstrate the highest merit and fit with objectives will be considered for funding.

It is highly recommended that you read this Applicant Guide before submitting an application form. Applicants are encouraged to address all submission requirements and contain sufficient detail to enable thorough review and assessment. Incomplete applications will not be assessed or considered for funding.

The application form is available here. Please note that you will not be able to save the information until you have completed the form. The form can only be submitted once completed. Make sure you have the required information and documents mentioned in this guide at hand.

Your company's financial statements for the last three (3) years and the proposed project plan should be sent by email to dec.pme-sme.ced@canada.ca or by mail to the above address within 48 hours of sending the form.

The type of acceptable financial statements are: audited, review engagement, notice to the reader or certified by the Chief Financial Officer or President and Chief Executive Officer of the company, if the company does not have a Chief Financial Officer.

N.B.: For documents sent by mail, the postmark will be proof of compliance with the deadline.

These documents will enable CED to assess the capacity of your organization to implement the proposed project.

Objectives

To help bolster the productivity and competitiveness of SMEs operating within the Canadian steel and aluminum supply chain through investments in innovative projects. These investments are expected to maintain and create jobs as well as promote economic growth through adoption of innovative technologies and processes.

More specifically, the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative will:

  • Assist firms with high growth potential to scale up and expand;
  • Support technology demonstration and the commercialization of new technologies;
  • Encourage the early adoption or adaptation of leading-edge technologies and processes to improve productivity;
  • Increase businesses' capacity to grow.

Eligibility

I. Eligible Recipients

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;
  • 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); and
  • Capable of demonstrating plans for projects pursuing productivity enhancements, and/or innovations to augment firm competiveness.

II. Eligible Activities

Activities that support and accelerate business growth and competitiveness. Project activities defined as product and process improvements linked to productivity enhancing investments or operations will be prioritized. These activities may include:

  • 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 integration in global value chains.

III. Eligible Costs

All costs must be reasonable and directly related to the eligible project activities. Eligible costs may include, but are not limited to:

  • Cost of labour (e.g. wages and benefits);
  • Capital costs (e.g. purchase of machinery, equipment);
  • Operating costs that are directly related to the project (e.g. management fees)- up to 20 percent of the total project cost;
  • Professional, advisory and technical services;
  • Costs related to intellectual property;
  • Technological development and commercial demonstrations;
  • Subcontracting costs;
  • Production and distribution of promotional material and management tools; and
  • Maintenance costs.

IV. Ineligible Costs

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

  • Basic and applied research;
  • Working capital;
  • 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.

Funding

Financial Assistance

  • 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.

Financial assistance from government programs may have tax implications for a business. It is recommended that applicants obtain advice from a qualified tax professional.

Disbursement of funding

Payment of contributions will be based on reimbursement of eligible costs.

If you are successful in obtaining funding for your project, CED will provide its funding based on submitted claims. CED will reimburse you for the approved portion of eligible project costs that you have incurred and paid. Since successful applicants must submit a claim for reimbursement, there will be a delay between the time costs are incurred, and when claimed costs are partly reimbursed. Successful applicants will therefore need to plan their project cash flow accordingly. CED will provide detailed instructions on this process to those Applicants approved for funding.

Other Government Assistance, SR&ED and Other Tax Credits

CED considers tax credits received for activities undertaken between the project start and end date, as a source of government assistance. Such credits are considered for calculating the total amount of government funding that has been provided to a project.

Successful applicants who are in receipt of Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits and other similar federal or provincial tax credits for activities defined in the project are required to inform CED. CED is required to take into account all federal, provincial and municipal government assistance that will be obtained for your project. This calculation includes all the tax credits to which your company may be entitled. The total of these government contributions must not exceed 75% of the eligible costs. Applicants are advised to seek independent professional advice to determine the potential effect of Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative funding on project activities for which SR&ED tax credits, or other federal and provincial tax credits, are likely to be sought.

Application process

  • A continuous intake of applications will be accepted from the launch of the program on March 11, 2019, with priority given to applications received on or before April 8, 2019, 23h59.
  • Once the funds are allocated, proposals will no longer be accepted.
  • Multiple and concurrent project submissions from the same applicant are not permitted.

Application

You can access the application form for financial assistance here.

To be considered for funding, projects will have a complete and sufficiently detailed application, which will allow CED to thoroughly review and validate the information against the initiative's eligibility criteria.

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.
  • 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.

The application will be assessed based on the mandatory Regional Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative criteria, as well as the viability of the firm and innovation, economic, and public benefits of the project.

Assessment process

The Regional Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative is a competitive process. Applications will be evaluated on their ability to achieve the Initiative's objectives and on their relative strengths in the following areas:

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

Confidentiality

All proprietary data, commercially sensitive information and potentially valuable results or ideas will be protected from unauthorized, inadvertent or untimely disclosure. This information will be treated in accordance with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

These laws govern, protect and limit the collection, use and disclosure of personal and confidential information by federal government departments and agencies. Beyond the parties already mentioned above, confidential commercial information will not be shared without the applicant's consent.

Reporting requirements

All contribution agreements issued under the Regional Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative will include performance indicators to measure the individual project performance and the program's effectiveness relative to objectives. Recipients will be required to submit, along with funding claims, regular progress reports and financial statements throughout the duration of the project.

Part II: SME Funding for Steel and Aluminum – Application Guide

Overview

This Application Guide has been developed to provide instructions to applicants (defined as the "client" in the application form) on how to complete CED's Application for the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative.

The purpose of the Application is to:

  1. Provide a detailed description of the proposed project, what the business or organization hopes to achieve by undertaking the project, and how the project will benefit the SME operating in globally dynamic steel and aluminum markets; and
  2. Demonstrate that the applicant has the management, technical and financial capacity to complete the project.

This Guide is organized according to the sections of the Application for Funding. When completing the Application for Funding, applicants are expected to complete the fields in each section or indicate if a field is not applicable.

Please limit individual answers to the space provided in the Application for Funding. The use of point form (or bulleted lists) is acceptable, provided that the information is clear. Supplementary materials other than those identified in the Application for Funding will not be reviewed as part of the submission (with the exception of the financial statements and project plan requested at points 27 and 28 of this guide).

By signing and submitting the Application for Funding, the applicant acknowledges that the information contained therein is subject the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act.

Applicants are encouraged to contact CED if they have any questions regarding the Application for Funding. For more information call 1-833-282-6851.

Completing the application for funding

This section provides information on how to complete the various sections of the Application for Funding.

  1. Legal name of Applicant: The name of the incorporated business or organization.
  2. Business Number / Enterprise Number: The business number is a unique 9-digit number assigned by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  3. Operating name (if different from legal name): The name under which business is publicly conducted, e.g., 123456 Ontario Ltd operating as XYZ Technologies.
  4. Type of Organization — Is the Applicant a subsidiary? If yes, identify the parent entity and its location (city, country): A subsidiary is a company which has a controlling interest in its shares owned by another company. Provide the legal name of the parent entity and head office location.
  5. Date of Incorporation and location of incorporation (YYYY-MM-DD and city, country): The date stated on the company's Articles of Incorporation.
  6. Mailing address and Physical address where the project will occur (if different from the application address): Address of the enterprise's headquarters.
  7. Website: URL of the organization's website.
  8. Authorized Project Contact: Provide contact information for the person who is authorized to represent the business or organization, and who will be the main point of contact regarding the project.
  9. Authorized Secondary Contact: Also provide contact information for a secondary contact that can be reached should the main contact be unavailable.
    *If either the primary or secondary contacts are not a signing officer of the business or organization, confirmation of that person's right to represent the company may be required.
    **Note authorized contacts cannot be a consultant, as the RDAs will only communicate with the applicant.
  10. Voluntary Information: Please indicate if your enterprise is led, or majority led by under-represented groups, such as Indigenous Canadians, women, youth, and/or new immigrants: Constitutes an individual and/or a group from one of the identified under-represented groups listed either:
    • Owning 50 percent or more of the organization OR
    • Having long-term control and management of the business, contribution of capital and an active role in both strategic and day to day decision making.
  11. Number of full-time employees in Canada: A full-time employee usually works between 35-40 hours or more in a regular work week.
  12. Number of part-time employees in Canada: A part-time employee usually works less than 35 hours in a regular work week.
  13. Has your company received government funding in the last five years from federal, provincial or municipal sources? List the source of the funds (level of government and program name), and the total money provided by the government.

Business Description and Activities (Basic Criteria)

  1. Provide a brief description of the applicant and its principal business lines: For the purposes of this application principal business line refers to the main areas of business which generates sales for the company.
  2. Indicate your activity sector (NAIC code).
  3. Provide a brief summary of the key management staff that will manage the project, i.e., prior experience, education, professional designation, etc. Please keep your responses brief. For management biographies, please limit 2-3 lines per person and highlight the expertise required to manage and/or complete the project.
  4. What percentage of your firm's input costs (i.e., total of goods sold) does steel and/or aluminum represent? Check applicable percentage.
  5. Please provide a high level breakdown of your major input costs (i.e., total of goods sold) by percentage: This table will help determine the distribution of the applicant's input cost (i.e., total of goods sold) and the relative proportion of the applicant's steel and/or aluminum input cost.This is the value of steel and aluminum raw materials purchased during the fiscal year – for all types of steel and aluminum (unprocessed or low-processed).
    The information provided in the table may come from the company's Income Statement. A Canadian Controlled Private Corporation can refer to the line items in the T2 Schedule 125 (Income Statemet Information) reported annually to the Canada Revenue Agency in order to provide values in the above table.
  6. Describe the impacts of current steel and aluminum tariffs on your business, e.g. material costs increases, reduced sales revenue, lost business (customers, clients and contracts) etc.:
  • Is your firm suffering reduced revenues, lost market share, are at risk of layoffs etc.? Provide details on the impacts.
  • How is your firm currently mitigating the impacts of the steel and aluminum tariffs?
  • How will the proposed project mitigate the impacts of the current steel and aluminum tariffs?
  • Is the proposed project part of a strategic, forward looking plan to advance business growth?
  • Does your project include the adoption of innovative technologies and/or processes that will secure the competitiveness of the business in future years? Explain.

Project Information

  1. Project Title: Provide a project title that accurately reflects the activities and outcomes of the project. Should your project be approved, this description will be disclosed on CED's public website as part of its proactive disclosure guidelines.
  2. Project Description: This should provide an understanding of why you are seeking financial assistance, how you will use the funds, and how the funds will support the commercial objectives of your organization.
  3. Provide a brief description of the main project objectives: Describe strategic rationale for undertaking your project, how it fits with your mandate and business model (i.e., would be applicable whether funding is obtained or not). How will it achieve the objectives of the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative?
  4. Provide a brief description of the expected outcomes: Briefly describe the anticipated outcome(s) of the project. The outcomes are the anticipated results from the project. This provides an understanding of how the project will impact the company and what it is trying to achieve:
    • If you have a technology commercialization project, provide an overview of your technology (product/service/process) that describes what it does and why you believe your technology is innovative. Highlight the unique advantages of your technology, including where appropriate references to advantages such as total cost, speed to implement, ease of use and adoption, maintenance and support, and stability of technology and company.
    • If you have a productivity improvement project, describe the technology, equipment, and or processes that will be adopted and whether the technology is new to your company, the industry, and/or to Canada. Identify if and how the technology/process is leading-edge or innovative. Describe the productivity or efficiency savings that will be realized, and how this will enable your company to grow and expand.
    • If you have a business scale-up project, describe how the primary actions of the proposed project will enable your company to accelerate growth. What scale of operations do you have now, what scale do you want to achieve and why (e.g. market demand)? What actions do you propose to take to achieve this scale? This could include adopting best management practices, processes, and systems; market development and expansion activities; and business opportunity development.
  5. List the main activities being undertaken to complete the project: Provide a list of significant project activities or project milestones that can be measured and tracked to ensure the project is proceeding as planned. These should be significant milestones that will be used to measure your project's performance over the course of the project (i.e. achievement of objectives and outcomes).
  6. Estimated Start Date and end date of Project: Start date is the first day you anticipate incurring expenses for your project. Note that project expenses incurred prior to application submission date will be considered ineligible. The end date is the last day you anticipate incurring expenses for your project. Note that all projects activities must be completed by March 31, 2020.
  7. Check yes or no for each question in the application form: This section will allow CED to assess your organization’s capacity to undertake the proposed project. The following two items are required and applications cannot move forward without them.
  8. Attach your company’s financial statements for the past three years.If audited statements are not available, acceptable financial statement standards could include:
    • Review engagement;
    • Notice to reader; or
    • CFO attested, or by the CEO if a company does not a CFO.
  9. Attach your company's existing project plan (i.e., internal project plan that received management approval), including the projected budget for the project. The above documents will be sent within 48 hours of filing the application to the address mentioned in the application form.
  10. Fill out the checkboxes: Enter "Y" or "N" for each question in the application form.
  11. Provide an estimate of total project costs in Canadian dollars using the table below:
    Direct Labour $0
    Project Management $0
    Subcontractors $0
    Equipment $0
    Other Direct Costs: $0
    Total Project Cost $0
    Project Management should not exceed 20% of the total project costs.

  12. Indicate your sources of funding for this project using the table below:
    Source Funding Amount Status
      $
      $
      $
    Total Funding:
    Funding source: Where applicable, select the description that best reflects the funding source: Federal, Provincial or Municipal government body, or non-government.
    Status: For each funding source, indicate if the status (Confirmed, pending, not confirmed). In the case where your business (Applicant Firm) is a source of funding, indicate yes if you have cash on hand.

Project Benefits

  1. Economic Benefit: Describe the benefits to your business that will result from the project, i.e. impact on sales, employment retained or created etc.

    All values provided under this section must be measurable and verifiable. If the applicant selects "No" for any of the options, then it is not necessary to provide a value in the "Amount" column.

    All amounts reported in this section must be measured from the estimated Start Date of the Project to the End Date of the Project. Any benefits that fall out of this timeframe that the applicant wishes to highlight should be included in the prior question relating to how the project aligns with the Regional Growth through Innovation Steel and Aluminum Initiative.

    Jobs to be created and maintained: In the chart provided, indicate the total number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs to be created and maintained in the time frames listed. Calculate any FTE jobs as the employment of one person full-time, or more than one person part-time, such that the total working time as equivalent of one person working full-time. Generally, full-time positions will involve between 35-40 hours in a regular work week. Do not include FTEs employed by suppliers or contracted services. Jobs must be a direct result of project activities.

    New intellectual property (IP) created or licensed: Indicate the number of new intellectual property expected to be created or licensed as a direct result of this project. This can include IP created or licensed by either the applicant or a project partner.

  2. Innovation Benefits: The completion of the project may result in innovation benefits. Choose all that apply and provide supporting explanation for each item separately.

    Good or Service Innovation: Good or service innovation is the market introduction of a new or significantly improved good or service with respect to its capabilities, user friendliness, components or sub-systems. Good or service innovations (new or improved) must be new to your enterprise, but they do not need to be new to your market.

    Process Innovation: A process innovation is the implementation of a new or significantly improved production process, distribution method, or support activity for your goods or services. Process innovations must be new to your enterprise, but they do not need to be new to your market.

    Organizational Innovation: An organizational innovation is a new organizational method in your enterprise's business practices (including knowledge management), workplace organization or external relations that has not been previously used by your enterprise. Organizational innovations must be the result of strategic decisions taken by management. Exclude mergers or acquisitions, even if for the first time.

    Marketing Innovation: A marketing innovation is the implementation of a new marketing concept or strategy that differs significantly from your enterprise's existing marketing methods and which has not been used before. Marketing innovations require significant changes in product design or packaging, product placement, product promotion or pricing.

  3. Public Benefit: Use the table below to describe the public benefits of your project.

    Detail how the project will result in additional public benefits. The intent here is to rate the extent to which this project is likely to secure or increase spinoff activities within the community or fulfill policy goals such as environmental, training or business collaborations.

    Local Community Benefit: Detail any benefit that flows back the local community by addressing a local need or deficit.

    Environmental Benefit: Detail any way the project can contribute to clean growth and the transition to a low carbon economy by developing and adopting technologies that reduce GHG and air pollutant emissions through more productive and sustainable processes.

    Worker Training Opportunity: Training is a program that helps employees learn specific knowledge or skills to improve performance in their current roles.

    New Business Collaborations: Indicate the forecasted number of formal collaborations or partnerships that will be established during the project. A formal collaboration must include a signed agreement outlining each party's role and contribution toward the project. A collaboration or partnership must be specific to the project activities and contribute to the overall objectives of the project.

    New Research Collaboration: Indicate the forecasted number of formal collaborations or partnerships with higher education institutions that will be established during the project. A formal collaboration must include a signed agreement between project partners outlining each party's role and contribution toward the project. A collaboration or partnership must be specific to the project activities and contribute to the overall objectives of the project.

Authorization and Engagement

I have read and agree with the above applicant acknowledgements and certify that all statements and information furnished in this application are true, complete, and correct to the best of my knowledge. The individual authorized to sign the application on your behalf has reviewed the application and agrees that the information provided is accurate.

  • Include: information disclosure consent statement;
  • They will need to check "agree to all above" and have signature from authorized company signatory;
  • Name, Title, Date, Signature.
  • Date modified: