April 14, 2020

Auto tech sector wants financial aid from feds during COVID-19 pandemic: Rob Bostelaar, Automotive News Canada

Greg Layson

A fast-growing part of Canada’s auto industry is at risk unless the federal government broadens financial aid in the Covid-19 pandemic, a trade group has warned.

“What we see is that daily, companies are dropping. And once they drop they’re gone,” Suzanne Grant, CEO of the Ottawa-based Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) told Automotive News Canada.

Of some 12,000 small tech companies that collectively employ 85,000 in Canada, a significant if uncharted number, focus on transportation, from autonomous driving to hydrogen fuel cells and electric-car batteries.

On April 5 CATA urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to establish a $3.6-billion emergency fund for the tech sector and release $200 million in backlogged claims for scientific research and experimental development incentives.

The aid could mean survival for start-ups that have yet to show a profit and thus don’t qualify for government wage subsidies announced in March, or whose founders are unable to meet bank demands to personally guarantee up to 20 per cent of loans otherwise backed by government in the new Business Credit Availability Program.

Automotive News Canada
ROB BOSTELAAR