Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT)

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What is IFIT?

The Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program offers non-repayable contributions to successful applicants in the Canadian forestry industry to implement innovative, first-in-kind technologies in their facilities. The goal of the program is to provide funding for projects at the pilot to commercialization phase, with the intent of helping these technologies get to market.

Since 2010, the Program has issued three separate calls for proposals. This has resulted in funding being provided to 29 projects to date with 80% of them creating new products or diversifying product offerings at Canadian companies. These projects include bioenergy, biomaterials, biochemicals and next generation building products. They are true Canadian innovation success stories.

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Benefits of IFIT funded-projects

Funded projects benefit the environment by:

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Increasing Canada’s green electricity production
  • Creating advanced energy efficient building materials
  • Generating renewable alternatives to fossil fuel-based products
  • Producing renewable fuels, such as biogas
  • Commercializing innovative products made from renewable resources
  • Reducing water and waste and creating effluent treatment efficiency

Funded projects benefit communities by:

  • Creating new jobs and development opportunities
  • Securing jobs in forest resource-dependent communities

Funded projects benefit companies in ways such as:

  • Generating new revenues
  • Reducing internal costs
  • Commercializing Canadian and world-first technologies in Canada
  • Developing new or diversified products
  • Allowing them to generate new patents

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History of the IFIT program

IFIT was launched in 2010 to address a critical need for capital investment in new technologies by providing non-repayable contributions of up to 50% of a project’s costs for the demonstration of innovative technologies at the pilot to commercial scale in the Canadian forest industry.

The program focuses on this stage of a project because public funds are often available to support research and development as a given technology matures from concept to prototype development, but once it comes time to construct a pilot, demonstration and/or first-commercial facility, such funding tends to be less available.  Access to funding then increases again once the commercial potential of a new technology has been fully demonstrated and is able to attract private investors. This gap in available investment to demonstrate and deploy technology is typically referred to as “the Valley of death”. IFIT aims to help get these technologies past this stage.

The high number of applications received in response to previous calls for proposals demonstrates the great appetite in the Canadian Forestry Industry to bring innovative, world-first projects into the sector. 

From 2010 to 2015, the program issued three calls for proposals and received in response 186 applications.  When added together, the applications were asking for a total of $1.1 billion from the IFIT program, and represented nearly $4 billion in project spending.  As the IFIT program was allocated a total of $190.4 million of funding between 2010 and 2018, these applications were requesting more than five times the amount of IFIT funds available.

See the IFIT Performance Report (2010-2014) for detailed results.

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IFIT services standards

Our service standards represent the level of service we are aiming to provide. By complying with these standards, we demonstrate our accountability and transparency when we measure and report results on our program.

Responding to general program enquiries
Within 2 business days, 85% of the time. Some program enquiries may require more internal discussion before an appropriate response can be provided.

Acknowledging receipt of an expression of interest
Within 1 business day, 95% of the time.

Acknowledging receipt of a proposal
Within 1 business day, 95% of the time.

Providing a decision on initial eligibility of project proposal (applicant has been short-listed)
Within 4 months of the acknowledgement of the applicant’s proposal, 95% of the time.

Providing a decision on whether the project will receive funding
Within 6 months of an applicant being informed that financial and risk due diligence will be performed on the proposal, 70% of the time.

Timing depends highly on an applicant’s responsiveness to requests from the department for information during the due diligence and risk assessment review. Under the past iteration of the IFIT program, this process has ranged from 2 to 6 months.

Approving and providing a funding agreement to an applicant for signature
Except as agreed upon with an applicant, within 3 months of an applicant receiving confirmation of being provided funding, 90% of the time.

Although the applicant would receive confirmation of funding, in some cases applicants may want to defer signing a contribution agreement until closer to the date that project implementation will begin.

Deciding on a request for an amendment to a contribution agreement
Within 2 months of the acknowledgement of a proponent’s request for an amendment, 85% of the time

Decision on an amendment is subject to an appropriate level of documentation from the proponent to substantiate the need for an amendment.

Providing an amending agreement to a proponent for signature
If an amendment request is approved, within 1 month of the decision, 90% of the time.

Issuing quarterly payment based on final and complete supporting information
Within 30 calendar days, 90% of the time.

“Final and complete supporting information” means that the proponent has supplied and made all necessary changes to the information supporting the payment claim to satisfy the department that project activities are in line with the statement of work, and that all costs incurred have been in accordance with the funding agreement. Timing can also vary based on bank processing time and whether a proponent receives a direct deposit or a physical cheque.

Issuing release of holdback based on final and complete supporting information
Within 30 calendar days, 90% of the time.

“Final and complete supporting information” means the same as above, with the addition that the department is satisfied that the project has been completed in accordance with the statement of work, that all eligible costs incurred have been paid, and that the proponent has provided all final reports that summarize the project. Timing can also vary based on bank processing time and whether a proponent receives a direct deposit or a physical cheque.

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For more information, please email the IFIT team.