When General Motors announced they were closing their iconic Oshawa plant a few months ago, there was a huge uproar because Ontario Premier Doug Ford pretty much said at the time the closure was inevitable despite promising he would fight for the auto sector.
The premier took a trip recently down to Detroit with his economic development minister to ‘tout Ontario as being open for business’. Some say he was doing so in order to shore up the notion that he has not given up on auto jobs in the province.
It seems now there is a plan of sorts for the auto sector from Ford’s government.
Ford announced this week that the province will invest up to $40 million to “safeguard auto jobs and protect the sector for future growth.” The plan calls for a number of initiatives:“Our government is committed to helping our partners in the auto industry grow and create good jobs,” Ford said.. “Our Driving Prosperity plan will make sure Ontario’s auto sector is the best in the world — and stays that way for years to come.”
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“We listened carefully to what Ontario’s auto industry needs to safeguard good jobs, while investing in the skills and technology essential to remain competitive,” said Smith. “This plan builds on our work to cut red tape, lower business costs, and make Ontario open for business and open for jobs.”
Phase one of “Driving Prosperity” has three pillars that each have immediate action items:
Competitive business climate — a comprehensive, streamlined approvals and compliance approach for all manufacturing on designated job sites, international promotion of Ontario’s auto strengths, and the review of industrial electricity pricing.
Innovation — new supports for supply chain modernization and competitiveness, and for connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Talent — new internship and training opportunities, and development of a talent roadmap and skills inventory.
Phase two, which will be released later this year, will build on this work and address longer-term challenges and opportunities facing the sector.
What do you think of the Ford government’s latest announcements about auto sector jobs?