Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister takes part in a press conference at the Ford Connectivity and Innovation Centre in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 8 2020. He was joined virtually from Oakville by the Premier of Ontario Doug Ford, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli, President and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada, Limited Dean Stoneley, and Ontario Member of Provincial Parliament Stephen Crawford. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Federal and Ontario governments unveil $590M investment in electric cars

The federal government and the government of Ontario unveiled a $590-million investment plan Thursday to help car giant Ford upgrade its assembly plant in Oakville, Ont., to start making electric vehicles.

The project, valued at $1.8 billion, will include federal and provincial contributions of $295 million each.

The Oakville plant currently employs about 3,400 workers. The federal government says the upgrade is expected to help secure 5,400 jobs across Ford’s production workforce in Canada.

Earlier this year, Ford announced that it is going “all-in” on electrified vehicles and plans to present a lineup of 40 new electrified vehicles by 2022.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the joint investment an important step in building the next generation of Canada’s auto industry as it increasingly shifts towards green technology.

“From aluminum in Quebec to nickel in Ontario, this investment will make a huge impact throughout the supply-chain,” Trudeau said, adding that it positions Canadian workers for success.

“The market for electric vehicles will grow in the future, and Canada has the talent to be a global leader in making batteries for electric vehicles, electrification, and clean technology. For our auto sector, for our environment, this is a win-win”

Ford, who spoke remotely from the Oakville plant, said the deal marks a new chapter for Ontario’s auto industry.

“We’re laying the groundwork for the long-term recovery and prosperity of our province,” Ford said.

Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, the trade union that represents the automotive industry workers, said retooling the Oakville plant to produce electric vehicles will save thousands of jobs and commended Trudeau “for his vision and leadership.”

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