Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year announced the renewal of the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), highlighting the strategic importance of the automotive sector to Canada's economy and job market. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour.
"Our Government remains focused on creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity and keeping Canada's automotive manufacturing sector globally competitive and innovative," said Prime Minister Harper. "The Automotive Innovation Fund has a proven track record of generating results for Canadians in terms of jobs, prosperity and foreign investment in Canada."
The AIF provides support for leading-edge innovation in automotive manufacturing and research and development (R&D) to build advanced, greener products and processes.
The AIF was first introduced in Budget 2008. To date, investments have leveraged up to $1.6 billion in R&D and innovation investments in Canada's automotive sector, including promoting enhanced R&D capacity, leading-edge engineering and design, and made-in-Canada innovation. Since AIF's inception, the following companies have benefitted from the Fund: Ford Motor Company of Canada, Linamar Corporation, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. and Magna International.
According to the latest news, The Harper Government is committing up to $71.6 million to Ford Motor Company of Canada for Project Northern Star through the AIF, a $250-million, five-year program that supports the development of Canada's auto sector. Ford is the first recipient of the renewed AIF, It is expected the AIF will generate up to $2.3 billion in private sector investment, including Project Northern Star.
Project Northern Star will strengthen research and development at Ford, transform its Oakville Assembly plant by installing a global platform, and keep Canada's automotive sector innovative and globally competitive.
Canada's automotive industry is a key economic driver, contributing 12 percent of the country's manufacturing GDP and 12 percent of total merchandise exports. The industry employs approximately 111,000 Canadians directly and another 338,000 indirectly.
About the Fund
The Government of Canada is committed to fostering the research and development necessary to keep Canada's automotive manufacturing sector innovative and globally competitive.
The AIF aims to:
- Build automotive research and development (R&D) capacity in Canada and secure high value jobs;
- Enhance the government's science and technology (S&T) and environmental agendas;
- Support the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced and green technologies, and advanced products or processes;
- Promote long-term economic benefits to Canada including significant job creation/retention; and,
- Serve as a catalyst for further private sector investments to foster Canadian competitiveness.
The Government of Canada will consider investment proposals valued at more than $75 million. Each proposal for AIF support will be subjected to a comprehensive due diligence process to assess the project's feasibility and risk, as well as its ability to deliver the proposed innovation, technical, environmental and economic benefits.