In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan, and Program Proposals (2010), a detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was completed for the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF)'s investment in the Ford Motor Company of Canada (FMCC).
The AIF supports automotive companies in strategic, large-scale research and development (R&D) projects in the automotive sector to build innovative, greener, and more fuel-efficient vehicles. The AIF's $102 million investment in Ford will support projects in clean technologies, the manufacturing of more fuel-efficient vehicles, and the energy efficiency of Canadian manufacturing facilities. Increased R&D investment will focus on advanced powertrain technologies and vehicle connectivity, as well as incremental research in vehicle light-weighting and additive manufacturing. Ford envisions a new fuel-efficient engine that aligns with North American regulatory emission requirements and reduced industrial emissions related to assembly process and manufacturing operations. In addition to creating good, well-paying jobs and attracting investment, the AIF reinforces Canada's role as an innovative clean-tech leader and contributes to Canada's environmental sustainability goals.
An analysis of the program determined that AIF is likely to indirectly contribute to the advancement of the 2016–2019 Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and targets by supporting:
- new product development, such as advanced emissions technologies, energy efficient engines and transmissions, advanced materials including engineered plastics and lightweight components and materials
- product testing with a view to ensuring cleaner, more efficient automotive performance and reduced greenhouse gases
- the development of new production methods and process technologies to allow for increased productivity and efficiency, such as flexible manufacturing techniques, robotics and IT systems
- new/expanded facilities to produced leading-edge, energy-efficient vehicles and powertrains
- leading edge engineering and design, prototype development
Thus, the AIF is likely to positively advance the following goals and targets of the FSDS:
Goal: Effective action on climate change
Target: By 2030, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels.
Goal: Clean Growth
Target: Implement our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels.
In 2016, the Terms & Conditions for the AIF were modified to include as an eligible cost land and buildings which could have environmental effects. Project level environmental assessments, therefore, will be undertaken on a case-by-case basis if it is determined that an important environmental effect is likely to occur.