In accordance with the Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals, a detailed Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) was completed for the Strategic Innovation Fund (SIF) which was announced as part of Budget 2017. The assessment found the SIF may have positive direct and indirect environmental effects which are to likely advance Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) goals and targets.
SIF builds on and simplifies ISED’s former direct business innovation programs, namely the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP), Technology Demonstration Program (TDP), and Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI). The fund also provides expanded support to dynamic and emerging sectors such as agri-food, information and communications technology, and clean technology. As part of its mandate, SIF will support innovative projects across all sectors that are expected to advance the development of higher-value products and inventive solutions that could mitigate environmental risks and increase global competitiveness.
During public consultations on the Innovation Agenda held in 2016, stakeholders sought better coordination amongst Canada’s existing business innovation programs in order to ease navigation and increase program uptake. The consolidation of existing resources and programs under a single window aims to address these concerns thereby encouraging more companies to develop innovative and competitive products and processes, including those that are more environmentally friendly.
Prior to consolidation under SIF, the SEA analysis found that the former automotive, aerospace, and defence innovation programs had important direct and indirect environmental benefits, such as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions via new product and process development. Opening up business innovation support to all sectors is expected to increase such R&D investments which may have similar positive environmental impacts. This R&D is likely to include the development of more efficient technology which requires less fossil fuel, use of additional recycled materials, and lead to more efficient manufacturing processes that generate less waste. Also, testing of new material and processes could result in replacing the use of older, more destructive materials/ processes with newer, more sustainable or efficient alternatives. In addition, it is expected that SIF will fund innovation and commercialization activities in clean technology projects with explicit positive environmental impacts.
By encouraging companies to develop innovative and competitive products and processes that are more environmentally friendly, SIF helps to advance FSDS Goal 1- Effective action on climate change and Goal 3- Clean growth.
Effective action on climate change
- Long-term goal: A low-carbon economy contributes to limiting global average temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius and supports efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius
- Medium-term target: By 2030, reduce Canada's total GHG emissions by 30%, relative to 2005 emission levels
- Long-term goal: A growing clean technology industry in Canada contributes to clean growth and the transition to a low-carbon economy
- Medium-term target: Implement our Mission Innovation commitment to double federal government investments in clean energy research, development and demonstration, by 2020, from 2015 levels