By Jordan Porter
Toronto, Ontario -- October 15, 2018 -- In 2014, Premier Kathleen Wynne implemented a program entitled the ‘Jobs and Prosperity Fund’. This fund aimed to promote economic growth in Ontario by providing businesses with the funds to operate on a larger scale, create jobs, and build overall economic prosperity in the province.
In June of this year, a new premier took office. During what turned out to be a successful campaign, now Premier Doug Ford and his Progressive Conservatives promised to end the $3.2 billion prosperity fund saying that the Ontario government will no longer participate in what Ford called “corporate welfare”.
Since the inception of the fund, the auto industry has benefited from hundreds-of-millions of dollars to help finance manufacturing projects. Companies such as Honda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and supplier Linamar, have all collected from this provincial program in order to help fund various manufacturing projects.
As this fund is being critically threatened, automakers are worried about the impact it will have on Ontario’s ability to compete on the national level for manufacturing demands.
Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, said that while, “in a perfect world,” Ontario and other jurisdictions would not have to compete with each other on incentives, the province risks becoming less competitive if it takes too many incentives off the table.
With the term ‘corporate welfare’ floating around this incentive plan being disbanded, the onus unfortunately falls on the automotive industry to prove their worth toward building a strong economy and fight for the continued funding of manufacturing and production.
The eradication of this fund and others like it, was a major staple in the PC campaign this past election. Contrary to this, the campaign for the NDP in regards to this subject was a polar opposite.
Leader of the Opposition Andrea Horwath stated that instead of dissolving the Jobs and Prosperity fund, they wanted to “create a stream within the Jobs and Prosperity Fund to promote manufacturing research and development,” while working to create a “single window” specifically for automotive investments.