Canada Contributing $447 Million Toward Ford Plant Upgrades

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
canada contributing 447 million toward ford plant upgrades

With Ford and Unifor having agreed to a new three-year contract last month, Oakville Assembly (which currently manufacturers the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus) is slated to be retooled to manufacturer electric vehicles and their batteries. While the first example wouldn’t roll off the assembly line until 2026, according to the agreement, Canada is excited about the prospect of green jobs. In fact, the Canadian government has committed itself to an ambitious program aimed at boosting electric vehicle sales in order to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

We’re always suspect of central planning, as regulatory changes often have unintended consequences for the associated industries, but need to praise Canada for actually putting some money where its mouth is. Barring a mishap in 2023, the nation has promised to contribute $447 million (split evenly between the Ontario and federal governments) toward Ford’s 1.4-billion program to convert the facility.

Unifor seems pleased enough. President Jerry Dias has repeatedly said the union would need substantial and consistent support from the Canadian government if the nation expects to remain a major manufacturing hub — especially as the industry seems bent on transitioning toward EVs. While that has not been reflected in consumer behaviors, the industry itself has invested more than enough money into electrification and numerous markets are regulating the industry to ensure this happens. They’re poised for a change, regardless of what the markets want to do.

“Both governments understand where the industry is heading. You either get on board now or get lost in the shuffle,” Dias said in an interview with Automotive News Canada. “They understand this is a pivotal time for the industry.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participated in Thursday’s event announcing the government-backed funding via the internet, saying this would be the first of many steps toward a ” next-generation auto industry.”

“Today’s investment from Ford Canada is historic. It will ensure our province continues to lead North America and the world in automotive manufacturing and innovation, while boosting our competitiveness in this key sector,” Trudeau continued.

Based on the updated contract agreement, Oakville intends on continuing the production of the Edge and Nautilus until 2023. Originally, Blue Oval had no future plans for the facility (a historic building manufacturing Ford products since 1953) and looked to be shuttering it once production wrapped on the current batch of middleweight crossovers. But the agreement with Unifor has effectively breathed new life into the site, with a few very important stipulations.

Retooling the factory and getting those government investments comes after the latest contract expires. That means this whole deal could fall apart long before Oakville gets its upgrade and the issue will undoubtedly come up in union negotiations slated for 2023. For now, Ford seems happy enough to play along and we doubt the Canadian government offering to foot a significant portion of the bill is going to endanger that position.

“With the support of the federal and provincial government, Ford of Canada is investing in the future of its Ontario-based operations, solidifying its commitment to providing thousands of well-paying jobs in Ontario and becoming the first automaker in the country to build full battery-electric vehicles while delivering operational improvements that will maximize production flexibility to ensure we remain operationally competitive,” Ford Canada CEO Dean Stoneley said in a statement.

[Image: JL IMAGES/Shutterstock]

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  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 09, 2020

    Corporate welfare simply trains the bear to keep returning to your campsite for food.

    • Pig_Iron Pig_Iron on Oct 09, 2020

      I remember when their last prime minister gave a big payout to GM. He even famously did a photo op in the cab of a GM locomotive. How'd that work out? This will be another boondoggle.

  • Thegamper Thegamper on Oct 12, 2020

    It could possibly be the powerhouse. I dont see any stacks, but industrial boilers are huge, multistory units. There are also ovens used to treat metal parts that need significant height clearance and perhaps would also need a gantry crane for maintenance. Just a thought but who really knows....Maybe the workers come to the cube to regenerate.

  • 3SpeedAutomatic Drove a rental Cherokee for several days at the beginning of this year. Since the inventory of rental cars is still low, this was a 2020 model with 48k miles and V6. Ran fine, no gremlins, graphics display was easy to work, plenty of power, & very comfortable. Someone must of disarmed the lane assistance feature for the steering wheel never shook (YES!!!!!!!!). However, this woman's voice kept nagging me about the speed limit (what's new!?!?!?!).I was impressed enough to consider this a prime candidate to replace my 11 yr old Ford Escape. Might get a good deal with the close out of the model. Time will tell. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Bullnuke One wonders if this poor woman entered the US through Roxham Road...
  • Johnds Years ago I pulled over a vehicle from either Manitoba or Ontario in North Dakota for speeding. The license plates and drivers license did not come up on my dispatchers computer. The only option was to call their government. Being that it was 2 am, that wasn’t possible so they were given a warning.
  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.