Canadian Government Launches $250 Million Auto "Innovation Fund"

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
canadian government launches 250 million auto innovation fund

The Canadian government will put up $250 million as part of an “auto innovation fund”, a continuation of a 2008 program which the government claims led to over $1 billion in spending.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make the announcement today at Ford’s Oakville plant – which happens to be looking for government money to help perform upgrades in anticipation of a new model being built at the plant.

The state of Canadian auto manufacturing seems to get bleaker as the days go on; Canada is said to be the most expensive place in the world to build a car, thanks in part to a strong Canadian dollar. The latest round of negotiations with the CAW did little to bring down labor costs, while CAW rank-and-file think the deal gave too many concessions to the auto makers. GM has consistently moved vehicle production out of their first-rate Oshawa assembly plant. In the last decade, only one plant, a Toyota facility, has been built in Canada – though others have been upgraded, no new real investment has been put in place. Ultimately, the $250 million on offer from the government likely won’t go very far given the needs of the OEMs and their many suppliers. But it’s value as a symbolic gesture make it worth noting.

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  • Tiredoldmechanic Tiredoldmechanic on Jan 04, 2013

    Crapbox, Please don't judge us by the CBC, otherwise known as the Communist Broadcasting Collective. Smug moral superiority is certainly thier stock in trade but they do not define Canada, despite thier assertions to the contrary.

  • Sooke Sooke on Jan 05, 2013

    We're like Western Europe, we spend zilch on our military, assuming the US military will protect us from the bad guys. Otherwise we'd be Novo Siberia.

    • MeaCulpa MeaCulpa on Jan 05, 2013

      Howe's that working out for us really? To stay in the good graces of le Yanks we're sending troops to their colonial wars and help them prop up semi-dictators, making us all ripe for suicide bombers. Give me a nice, big, well funded conscript army trained to fight a conventional enemy, and keep it home.

  • Lightspeed Lightspeed on Jan 05, 2013

    If this "innovation" fund is like the one's I've worked with they typically involve govt and industry matching funding on R&D projects with the aim of commercializing a technology. That's where the govt can say it leveraged its investment. Historically, govt investment in advancing R&D has worked out pretty well, such as in the development of the internet and in aerospace. In the Canadian auto industry it will likely be targeted on efficiency and productivity with the aim to make Canadian plants more competitive. The spin-off benefits would include knowledge, products and services with applications in other industries. There, I got through this without saying something nasty about Americans or Canadians or anybody else.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jan 06, 2013

    Canada does not have car companies and market is small - why someone thought it is good idea to build cars in Canada. And considering strong Canadian dollar and militant unions it is losing proposition. Just matter of time. The only advantage I can see - companies do not have to pay pensions and for health care if Canada is truly socialist country (and not quasi-socialist as US) and Government provides pension and free healthcare. Government forcing companies to pay health insurance and high corp taxes is a big disadvantage US has as a country. But US dollar is weak (thank you Obama! No pun intended it is actually is a good for economy, though those on fixed income and savers to be damned!) and market is largest and most lucrative in the world.