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Canadian Leaders Tout Global Manufacturing Capabilities

By Cameron Kerkau Associate Editor, SME Media

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was joined by Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor Olivia Chow at the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association’s (APMA) 71st Annual Conference yesterday. The event is co-located with SME's Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show (CMTS) in the Toronto Congress Centre.

In a fireside chat with APMA President Flavio Volpe, Trudeau focused on the appeal of Canadian manufacturing to international CEOs. Both Volkswagen and Stellantis announced plans this year to build battery plants in St. Thomas and Windsor, Ont., respectively.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau walks the Canadian Manufacturing Trade Show floor.

“The conversations we have with CEOs internationally about the reliability in the education levels, diversity, growing workforce at a time where so many western countries are flatlining in terms of the population, the strong social safety net—things like dental care and $10 childcare on top of healthcare systems—these are things that have an impact in two ways on the international CEOs,” Trudeau remarked.

“One, they see that the people are going to be well supported and maybe health insurance won’t cost as much from a corporate standpoint,” he continued. “But more than that they see Canada as a stable reliable, value-driven, optimistic group of people who are positive about the future. And that's been the story of Canada for a long time.”

Chow opened the conference by highlighting the APMA’s Project Arrow, an original, full-build, zero-emission concept vehicle displayed on the CMTS show floor. An all-Canadian effort, the concept electric vehicle was designed, engineered and built in the Canadian automotive supply sector and its post-secondary institutions.

“The innovation and creativity you’ve shown in Project Arrow demonstrates how Canada can lead in building the next generation of electric car,” Chow said.

Project Arrow was made possible in part by a $5 million FedDev Ontario investment in the APMA, which represents various parts, equipment and technology providers. The Ontario premier promised further investments and support in his remarks to the audience of Canadian automotive manufacturers.

“We’re going to continue to attract even more international investments. We’re going to continue investing in Ontario technologies and innovation, and we’re going to continue developing the workforce,” Ford said.

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