Ontario Construction News staff writer
The Ontario government is matching a $295 million investment from the federal government to retool Ford Canada’s Oakville assembly complex into a global hub for battery electric vehicle production. The $1.8 billion investment is one of the most significant investments in the province’s auto sector in a generation.
“By making this investment in Ford Canada, we are ensuring our province continues to lead North America and the world in automotive manufacturing and innovation, while boosting our competitiveness in this key sector,” Premier Doug Ford said. “We are also securing thousands of good-paying jobs, not just at the facility in Oakville, but across the province. This project will help support our auto parts sector and other suppliers and service providers.”
Ford’s Oakville plant directly employs over 3,000 people and will be modernized with a flexible manufacturing system able to accommodate multiple battery electric vehicle (BEV) models. It will also include the installation of a battery-pack assembly line. The Oakville Assembly Complex will become one of Ford’s highest volume BEV plants in North America, with the first electric vehicles expected to roll off the production line in 2025.
“Today’s announcement is a testament to Canada’s attractiveness as a destination for clean technology, talent, and infrastructure in the automotive industry,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Companies like Ford are helping accelerate our transition to a low-carbon, clean-growth economy, which will help protect our environment, drive innovation, and create many good middle-class jobs.”
Ontario is the only place in North America where five major automakers build vehicles — Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota — as well as truck manufacturer Hino. The province’s vehicle assembly facilities are supported by a supply chain of over 700 parts firms and 500 tool, die and mold makers.
“Any region seeking a long-term future in auto manufacturing must be adding value at every stage of the supply chain, particularly in the two technologies shaping the next generation of vehicles: zero-emissions and connected and autonomous,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.
“Bolstered by strategic government partnerships, Ontario is now at the leading edge. This ongoing collaboration between industry, government and labour will be essential as we face the immense economic challenges of COVID-19 and build for the future.”
Building electric vehicles here in Ontario is a critical component in securing future investments across the electric vehicle value chain. This includes opportunities for the province’s mining industry, because electric vehicle batteries require various minerals found in Ontario’s North.
In addition to securing the future of the Oakville Assembly Complex, this investment is a major win for the auto parts industry in Ontario and its 63,000 workers who help build parts and components for vehicles assembled in the province and abroad.