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Archived - Government of Canada Announces $100 Million Support for Innovative Ford Project

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OAKVILLE, Ontario, October 29, 2004 -- The Honourable Joe Volpe, Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, on behalf of the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, today announced that the Government of Canada is making a contribution of $100 million toward the redevelopment of Ford Motor Company of Canada's Oakville facility. Project Centennial represents a major investment for Canada. Ford is investing more than $1 billion in the project, which will introduce new manufacturing processes to secure the future of the site and related employment for years to come. "Today's investment helps ensure Canada remains at the forefront of the automotive sector and indicates that, when government works in partnership with the private sector, good things can happen," said Minister Volpe. "I'm thrilled to be here to announce this good news, and I'm very pleased we're investing in the future of the well-trained, highly skilled workforce in Oakville." "The auto industry is Canada's largest manufacturing sector and a key driver of our economy," said Minister Emerson. "We are pleased to support this important project, which will bring benefits in terms of innovative process technologies, skills development, and research and development -- all consistent with government priorities." "The $1-billion investment by Ford, with contributions from the federal and provincial governments, is a commitment to preserve and enhance Canada's manufacturing base," said the Honourable Tony Valeri, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek. "It is an investment in people, and in making sure they have the tools and the training to take advantage of the opportunities of the 21st century economy." The Government of Canada's contribution to Ford is part of a larger commitment to the entire automotive industry. In Budget 2004, the government committed to develop a national automotive strategy in partnership with industry, labour and parliamentarians. This commitment was reaffirmed in the recent Speech from the Throne. In addition, the government continues to work with the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC), which was established in 2002 to identify and prioritize the actions needed to strengthen the automotive industry. Minister Emerson will be joining his counterparts from the governments of Ontario and Quebec in attending a CAPC meeting on November 3, 2004, to further advance private-public sector consultations. Ford's Project Centennial will introduce a state-of-the-art, flexible manufacturing system at the company's Oakville plant. In addition, it will provide training in new production technologies for employees, create opportunities for suppliers, and invest in research and development, particularly in the area of environmental technologies. The Government of Canada contribution, which is conditionally repayable, will support areas of the project related to innovative process technologies, environmental research and advanced engineering. The government will also work with Ford on its Canadian supplier development initiatives. New automotive assembly investments are coveted worldwide for the significant economic and technological spinoffs they generate. The Canadian automotive assembly industry has tremendous direct and indirect economic impact across the nation, creating large employment opportunities in related areas. - 30 - For more information, please contact: Stéphanie Leblanc Office of the Honourable David L. Emerson Minister of Industry (613) 995-9001 Stephen Heckbert Director of Communications Office of the Honourable Joe Volpe Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development (819) 994-2482 Media Relations Industry Canada (613) 943-2502 Media Relations Human Resources and Skills Development (819) 994-5559 Backgrounder Government of Canada Support of Ford's Project Centennial October 29, 2004 The Government of Canada has agreed to provide $100 million in assistance to Ford Motor Company of Canada to support the company's $1-billion redevelopment of its Oakville facility. This fulfills the commitment made by the Government of Canada in June 2004, when it announced it would provide assistance to Ford to support the company's investment plans. The Government of Canada will partner with the Government of Ontario, which has also committed $100 million to the project, and with Ford on Project Centennial, which will introduce flexible manufacturing at the plant, provide training for employees, and invest in research and development, particularly in the areas of environmental technologies. This approach aligns well with government priorities in these areas. Ford will invest a minimum of $1 billion in the Oakville assembly complex for two new vehicle programs, and a series of engineering/research and development commitments. It is expected that Project Centennial will maintain some 3900 direct jobs as well as thousands of other jobs in the area that depend on the Ford assembly plant. Ford is the second-largest automaker in Canada, with 14 200 employees involved in manufacturing. The company accounts for 18.3 percent of all vehicle production in Canada. It operates six plants and a research and development centre in Ontario, as well as a testing facility in Manitoba. It is expected that Project Centennial will provide an excellent opportunity to establish an automotive footprint in southern Ontario for the next generation. This project is an example of what incentives can do when the private and public sectors work together. The automotive sector is a major contributor to Canada's industrial performance, accounting for 12 percent of manufacturing gross domestic product, and employing 151 000 people in vehicle and component manufacturing. Budget 2004 has acknowledged the vital importance of this sector to the national economy, and commits the government to developing a new strategic framework with an emphasis on research and development, innovation and new technologies in support of Canada's sustainable development priorities. New automotive assembly investments are coveted worldwide for the significant economic and technological spinoffs they generate. The Canadian automotive assembly industry has a tremendous direct and indirect economic impact across the nation. Each assembly job creates 4.9 indirect jobs, which is well above the Canadian manufacturing average of 1.2 indirect jobs. The automotive industry is the cornerstone of much of Canada's manufacturing base -- no other manufacturing sector has as large an impact on Canada's economy. The health of many upstream industries depends on a robust automotive assembly industry, as the sector consumes 17 percent of rubber production, 14 percent of processed aluminium, 13 percent of wire goods, 8.5 percent of carpeting and fabric, 8 percent of glass, and 37 percent of steel foundry production. The strength of the automotive sector is driven by vehicle assembly, which is the immediate market for Canada's 900 auto parts facilities, located mainly in Ontario and Quebec. The vehicle assembly industry stimulates auto parts investment, innovation and skills development, helping to position Canada at the leading edge of new processes and technologies. In terms of its ability to advance the government's agenda, the automotive sector has the potential to contribute to Canada's economic growth and prosperity for the 21st century, and to promote sustainable development and environmental goals, including Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Accord, the hydrogen economy, skills development, innovation and commercialization.

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