By: The Working Forest Staff
New tool helps attract advanced manufacturing investments and create thousands of jobs
WOODSTOCK — Ontario is launching a provincewide Job Site Challenge to identify shovel-ready mega-sites where automakers or other advanced manufacturers could invest in Ontario by building a large plant, creating thousands of good-paying direct and supply-chain jobs.
Prabmeet Sarkaria, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and local Oxford MPP, made the announcement today at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (West Plant) in Woodstock. The Toyota plant in Woodstock, which opened in 2008, is the newest auto plant in Ontario. The Challenge, a Canadian first, invites municipalities, economic development agencies and industrial property owners to propose mega-sites — large tracts of land between 500 to 1,500 acres that are already zoned, or could be, for heavy industrial use. These sites should be serviced or serviceable by utilities, transportation networks and other support infrastructure.
“With smarter regulations and reductions in the cost of doing business in the province, we’re restoring the competitive advantage that made Ontario the economic engine of Canada,” said Sarkaria. “The Job Site Challenge will build on our investment strategy, help us compete with other North American jurisdictions for large-scale manufacturing investments and market Ontario as a competitive place to do business.”
The Job Site Challenge is modeled on mega-site programs that have helped several U.S. jurisdictions, like New York, Tennessee, Alabama, and other states, to attract large-scale investments to build auto or other advanced-manufacturing plants.
Potential mega-sites will be evaluated based on 13 criteria. An internationally recognized site selector will endorse and validate sites for inclusion in the inventory of certified mega sites. Ontario and the site selector will then lead a marketing campaign to showcase these selected sites to international and domestic investors. The first shovel-ready sites are expected to be made available to investors in fall 2020.
“One of the biggest barriers that automakers face if they want to build or expand an auto assembly plant is availability of large-scale sites,” said Fedeli. “Through the Job Site Challenge, we’ll identify the best sites in the province that can help bring good-paying jobs to the community. A new auto assembly plant — like the eight we already have in Ontario — would create thousands of jobs for hardworking Ontarians.”
The Job Site Challenge builds on the success of the province’s existing Investment Ready: Certified Site Program, which pre-qualifies smaller industrial properties across the province.
- Proposals will be accepted between January 1 and March 31, 2020.
- The Job Site Challenge is part of Driving Prosperity: The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector, the government’s plan to strengthen the auto sector’s competitiveness.
- More than 100,000 people are directly employed in Ontario’s auto industry, with about two-thirds of those jobs in the auto parts sector. Currently, manufacturing employment in Ontario is 687,353, according to Statistic Canada’s latest report.
- Ontario is the only place in North America where five major automakers build vehicles — Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota — as well as truck manufacturer Hino.
- Ontario is also an ideal destination for advanced manufacturing sectors such as aerospace, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, agri-food and information technology manufacturing.