The Ford Motor Company of Canada and its labour union, Unifor, reached a tentative agreement yesterday that will see the automaker invest nearly $2 billion in two of its Ontario factories.
That announcement came on the eve of today’s federal Liberal government Speech from the Throne, in which the government laid out future policy plans, including making zero-emissions vehicles more affordable and investing in more EV charging stations across Canada.
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Ford’s announcement focuses on its Oakville manufacturing complex and Windsor’s engine plant.
The Oakville plant, which currently builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus mid-size crossovers, will be retooled starting in 2024 to build five future (but unidentified) electric vehicle models, the first of which will go on sale in 2025. The federal and Ontario governments have promised to contribute up to half a million dollars to Ford’s Oakville factory upgrades.
Meanwhile, the new Ford/Unifor contract promises new engine assembly work for the Windsor plant that, according to the CBC’s cautious wording, “could yield new jobs.”
Unifor says details of the agreement will be presented to its members this weekend for ratification.
Ford’s current vehicle lineup includes just one fully electric vehicle, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E it introduced as a 2021 model.
Today’s throne speech promised other future investments in electric vehicles as part of its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
To do so, the government promises to “make zero-emissions vehicles more affordable while investing in more charging stations across the country.” It’s unclear whether this would entail an expansion of the federal iZEV rebate program for plug-in vehicles or introduce a new program to incentivize EV sales.
The government will also start a new fund to attract businesses and companies that wish to build zero-emissions vehicles and EV batteries in Canada, taking advantage of the country’s nickel and copper resources. Canada will also cut the corporate tax rate in half for such manufacturing ventures to “ensure Canada is the most competitive jurisdiction in the world for clean technology companies.”