Premier Doug Ford issued the following statement today on the closure of the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant:
“Today is a difficult day for the workers at the General Motors Oshawa Assembly Plant.
It is a difficult day for the thousands of workers at hundreds of Ontario auto part suppliers that depend on the GM Oshawa Assembly Plant for much of their business, as well as for workers and small business owners throughout Oshawa and the wider Durham region.
And it is also a difficult day for the spouses, the children and the families of these workers.
Today a lot of people are feeling shocked and saddened. I know some people are also feeling angry and betrayed. To everyone who has been impacted by this decision, please know this:
First, for those who work in the auto industry, I want you to know that today’s news has nothing to do with the quality of the work you do. I will put the highly trained, professional autoworkers in Oshawa, or anywhere else in Ontario, up against anybody else in the world. It is disappointing that GM failed to see and build upon this competitive advantage. While the company is entitled to make its own business decisions, I am confident that history will prove them wrong.
Second, I want the people of Oshawa and the Durham Region to know that our government will always stand with you.
Our government has already begun exploring measures to help impacted workers, businesses and communities cope with the aftermath of this decision. As a first step, I will be authorizing Employment Ontario to deploy its Rapid Re-Employment and Training Services program to provide impacted local workers with targeted local training and jobs services to help them regain employment as quickly as possible. We are looking at how best to align our programs to ensure maximum support is available for affected employees and their families. In speaking with GM, we have stressed the importance of supporting their employees through this difficult transition.
We will also be calling for all three levels of government to work together to help impacted families receive the support and relief they need, while also ensuring that impacted businesses are quickly able to adapt their business models to take advantage of new opportunities.
As a start, we are asking the federal government to immediately extend Employment Insurance (EI) eligibility to ensure impacted workers in the auto sector can fully access EI benefits when they need them most. There is a precedent for this kind of action that has been deployed in Alberta’s oil patch, and the people of Ontario are right to expect that the federal government will show a similar level of respect to the families that depend on Ontario’s auto sector.
We are also asking the federal government to work with their U.S. counterparts to remove all tariffs so that impacted auto parts suppliers can remain competitive after the Oshawa Assembly Plant closes its doors.
The final thing I want the people of Oshawa, Durham and the entire province to know is this: While today’s announcement is disappointing, it will not deter us from returning Ontario to its rightful place as one of the world’s premiere destinations for job creation and investment.
Our province has immense resource riches, and sits at the crossroads of continental and global trade. Most importantly, we have a hard-working and educated workforce that is envy of the world. Unfortunately, years of economic mismanagement at multiple levels of government have squandered many of these advantages and, today, thousands of innocent families are being hurt as a result.
The good news is that, working together, we can fix this. Our Government for the People will work day and night to make Ontario Open for Business once again.”
Actions to date: Rapid Re-Employment Training Services
- The Ontario government has deployed Employment Ontario’s “Rapid Re-Employment Training Services” team, which will:
- Coordinate the response within Durham Region and other impacted communities
- Inform affected employees, employers and the community of the services available to them
- Coordinate with the federal government to support access to EI and other programs.
Actions to date: Employment Insurance
- As they have during times of economic hardship, Ontario has called on the federal government to:
- Extend EI eligibility by five weeks to a maximum of 50 weeks in the impacted EI regions
- Extend the duration of Work Sharing agreements by an additional 38 weeks, to a total of 76 weeks, and allow for immediate re-application for expired agreements
- Re-introduce the Career Transition Assistance initiative to re-train workers
- Develop a plan to increase EI durations for Long Tenured Workers in impacted EI regions
- Increase the federal transfer to Ontario for skills training via the Labour Market Development Agreement and Workforce Development Agreement.
Actions to date: Tariffs
- During recent trade deliberations, the U.S. government placed 25 per cent tariffs on Canadian steel and 10 per cent tariffs on Canadian aluminum products
- The Canadian government countered with tariffs of its own on steel, aluminum, and various other American products
- These tariffs from both sides increase the cost of doing of business for the critically important auto parts sector
- Ontario asking the federal government work with U.S. counterparts to remove all tariffs.