TORONTO, Jan. 7, 2013 /CNW/ - The Canadian Auto Workers union has
reacted positively to the federal government's renewal of the
Automotive Innovation Fund, which will provide $250 million in
repayable funding to support future capital investments in the auto
"This is an important affirmation that the federal government remains
committed to attracting future investments in this vital industry,"
said Ken Lewenza, CAW President.
"This fund is an important tool in our industrial policy toolbox, and
its renewal sends a signal to automotive manufacturers that Canada is
in the game," he added.
However, the CAW President stressed that the fund alone will not be
sufficient to preserve Canada's future share of auto investment and
production. "International experience shows that the most successful
auto jurisdictions are those which pursue multi-pronged auto
strategies," he said. "We need a comprehensive, integrated
federal-provincial strategy to attract investment and support Canadian
In addition to financial support for new investments, such a strategy
should also feature negotiated commitments to Canadian content, fair
trade policies to reduce large auto trade deficits, active procurement
strategies, and other policy levers.
Last year the CAW released a major policy paper on the need for a
national auto policy, titled Rethinking Canada's Auto Industry. It advocated a ten-point strategy to ensure a proportional Canadian
share of high-productivity, well-paying jobs in auto assembly and parts
production. The full 50-page document is available at www.rethinktheeconomy.ca.
Lewenza noted the historic pattern of cost-sharing between the federal
and Ontario governments in supporting major auto investments, and
challenged Queen's Park to confirm that it will continue that
Lewenza also challenged the federal and Ontario governments to ensure
that their future support for the auto sector is tied to enforceable
commitments by the auto producers regarding their production levels in
Canada. "Industrial policy needs both a carrot and a stick," Lewenza
said. "Supported companies need to make clear and binding commitments
regarding their long-run presence in Canada, in return for the public
support they are receiving."
Lewenza pointed to the successful Canadian footprint commitments
contained in the 2009 restructuring agreements with General Motors and
Chrysler, but which expire in 2017. "Those footprint commitments meant
that Canada's share of North American vehicle production actually
increased through the financial crisis. They are a model that should
be replicated in our future investment policies."
SOURCE: Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW)
For further information:
John McClyment CAW Communications 416-315-3202