Ontario to invest in Ford plant to bring electric vehicle production to Oakville after union talks, premier says

Ontario Premier Doug Ford Image: Twitter/Doug Ford

Ontario’s government plans to invest in Ford Motor Co.’s Oakville plant in the Canadian province once the automaker gets past union talks, Premier Doug Ford said.

“We’re contributing towards this plant – we’re contributing a massive amount at the end of the day once we get through these negotiations,” Ford said Monday at a news conference in Toronto.

Canada’s federal government told Ford Motor it’s willing to provide as much as C$500 million ($376 million) to bring electric vehicle production to Oakville, a suburb west of Toronto, the Toronto Star newspaper reported Sunday, citing a draft letter to the automaker.

The factory, Ford’s only assembly plant in Canada, makes the Lincoln Nautilus and Ford Edge crossover. It’s considered at risk to close after the company scrapped plans to make a next-generation Edge.

Doug Ford, who’s not related to the family that controls the automaker, declined to say how much his government is prepared to spend to aid the company. The premier said he’s looking for a commitment to have battery manufacturing for electric vehicles done in Ontario.

“We can manufacture every other part,” he said. “We have the lithium, we have the nickel, we have the raw materials that go into the batteries.”

Unifor, Canada’s largest private-sector union, is in negotiations with Ford Motor on a labor contract that will set the wage and benefit pattern for most of its 17,000 members who work for all three of Detroit’s major carmakers. The union had set a strike deadline of midnight Toronto time, though it said Monday it wouldn’t comment on the time frame and plans to give an update on Tuesday morning.

“We look forward to negotiating an agreement with Unifor that will help lead Ford of Canada, our employees and our communities into the future. The details about how we do that will be discussed at the bargaining table, not in the media,” Rose Pao, a spokesperson for Ford Motor’s Canadian unit, said in an email.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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