Transit expansion could mean Ontario jobs with Made in Canada policy



    TORONTO, Feb. 19 /CNW/ - TTC expansion plans and other public transit and
transportation infrastructure investments could create jobs to boost Ontario's
ailing manufacturing sector if governments supported minimum domestic content
levels, similar to those used by the rest of the G7 nations and China.
    "We're missing a critical opportunity to create jobs, tax revenue and
boost local communities," explains Len Crispino, President & CEO of the
Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC). "Governments around the world leverage
their investment in public transit to stimulate job creation and they do so
without violating international trade rules, including the World Trade
Organization or NAFTA. It's time we started supporting our manufacturing
sector remembering that every dollar in manufacturing output in Canada,
stimulates three dollars in economic activity."
    The "Buy America Act" in the United States for example, imposes strict
regulations for local content. Depending on the type of infrastructure
project, 60% to 100% of all components used to manufacture vehicles must come
from the U.S. and all final assembly must be performed in the U.S. State
governments can impose additional local content requirements. China requires
70% local content for urban mass transit and mainline railways while the
European Union enforces a 50% domestic content requirement. In each case,
global manufacturers have responded by setting up production facilities in
these countries.
    "Large public transit procurements like the TTC plan to purchase new
light rail vehicles, a $1 billion contract, could stimulate 400 jobs per year
for five to six years," estimates Mary Long-Irwin, President of the Thunder
Bay Chamber of Commerce, where Bombardier Transportation is the city's largest
industry and third largest private sector employer. "If we're serious about
being leaders in the transportation sector, then we need a Made in
Ontario/Canada policy."
    A Made in Canada policy for publicly tendered transportation
infrastructure projects is one of the planks of the Ontario Chamber of
Commerce's economic stimulus package, a package presented to Finance Minister
Dwight Duncan last week as part of the OCC's pre-budget submission to the
Ontario government.

    The OCC represents over 57,000 businesses through 160 local Chambers of
Commerce and Boards of Trade, and has been Ontario's business advocate since
1911. Its advocacy and policy initiatives focus on six areas key to the
economic well-being of the province: health; education; energy; finance &
taxation; transportation & infrastructure; and border issues.





For further information:

For further information: Amy Terrill, amyterrill@occ.on.ca, W: (416)
482-5222, ext. 241, C: (416) 605-8205


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