By CRM Staff
Toronto, Ontario -- February 15, 2019 -- Ontario premier Doug Ford announced Thursday that the province will be investing $40 million over three years into a new auto sector plan, which includes funding for innovation and training.
The money, which is part of a 10-year plan, will be used to strengthen the province’s automotive sector and help Ontario remain competitive within the industry.
The news comes just months after it was announced that General Motors would be closing down its Oshawa plant at the end of the year, a facility that employs 2,600 workers.
Economic Development Minister Todd Smith explained that part of the new plan is aimed at retaining workers, such as those from GM, and placing them in employment within the automotive sector.
“We want to give those auto workers an opportunity to get trained quickly,” he said. “Micro-credentialing is part of our plan, so they can get up to speed and not just continue jobs in the current wave of auto sector jobs, but in the automobile sector of the future.”
A micro-credentials pilot will focus on targeted retraining for highly specific skills. The province also plans to modernize apprentice training, with the goal of eventually making it more responsive to auto sector needs.
The plan will also work towards creating a more competitive business climate, which includes removing some regulatory barriers, streamlining approvals and certification for auto manufacturing sites, reviewing the industrial rate, and international electricity rate, and international promotion of Ontario’s auto sector.
“Our government understands what auto companies need to thrive and prosper in our province,” said Ford. “This is like Christmas coming — us getting elected — to industries across the province. They’re as happy as anything. They actually have a business-minded government.”
Ontario’s new plan includes enabling the private sector to develop a province-wide network of autonomous vehicle infrastructure.
Part of the $40 million investment will go towards an automotive modernization program which will help parts suppliers become more innovative by making $10 million available to small and medium suppliers, who can each qualify for up to $100,000 if they chose to match the funds.
President of Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association said the announcement is what suppliers have been asking for from the government.
“For the supply sector, what’s important is as long as the automakers stay here and make cars here and buy parts from us we’ve got a very healthy and efficient business,” he said.
Volpe said the plan is an important step in creating a competitive business environment.
“We are particularly pleased to see commitments focused on reducing the cost of manufacturing in Ontario and the openness to exploring investments supports for the manufacturing sector,” Dennis Darby said in a statement.
“These two actions are critical to boost manufacturing investment in the province and improve the competitiveness of globally integrated sectors, including automotive.”