Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government and the province of Ontario announced Thursday investments of Can$295 million (US$223 million) each in a Ford factory billed as the largest electric vehicle plant in North America.
At a joint news conference with Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Trudeau called the investments totaling Can$590 million "one of the first steps to build a next-generation auto industry."
It will also help Canada -- if Canadians buy the electric vehicles produced at the plant -- move toward its goal of net zero carbon emissions by 2050, he said.
The Oakville, Ontario assembly plant is to be repurposed as part of a deal announced last month between the Ford Motor Company and the Canadian union Unifor, to build five new electric vehicle models and the batteries that will power them.
The project is valued at Can$1.8 billion and will secure up to 5,400 Ford jobs in Canada, including over 3,000 at the Oakville plant.
"Today's announcement represents the largest investment in Ontario's auto sector in over 15 years," said Doug Ford, adding that the plant "will be the largest electric car manufacturing facility anywhere in North America."
"This is a historic moment," he said.
According to Statistics Canada, there were 1.9 million new vehicles registered in Canada last year and while electric vehicle sales jumped nearly 40 percent, they represent a very small portion of the total cars and trucks on Canadian roads.
In the first half of 2020, Tesla's Model 3, with almost 7,000 sold, remained the top EV seller in Canada, followed by the Chevrolet Bolt (1,600 sold), and the Hyundai Kona (1,200 sold), according to industry figures.
Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.