"During the global recession, our government made the investments necessary to keep our auto sector strong during that turbulent time," Steven Del Duca, former Minister of Economic Development and Growth, said in an interview prior to a June 7 election, during which he lost his seat. "Ten years later, thanks to these actions, Ontario has a thriving auto sector - but there remain important opportunities that call for continued government support and investment."
In May, the Canadian and Ontario governments said they will invest a combined $169 million to support Toyota Motor Corp., which has announced projects there valued at $1 billion. Toyota said it will upgrade its two Ontario assembly plants to build the next-generation RAV4, as well as incorporate R&D operations.
Last year, Ford Motor Co. said it will invest $376 million to establish a connected vehicle engineering research center in Ottawa.
At the beginning of this year, Linamar Corp. also said it will invest $385 million in Ontario. The Canadian government committed $38 million to the project and Ontario said it will provide a conditional grant of up to $39 million. Linamar will use the money to advance next-generation technology for electric and connected vehicles, creating an innovation center dedicated to machine learning and robotics with 1,500 jobs.
While the U.S. auto industry made a furious comeback in the years following the industry crisis of 2008-2009, some remnants of it lingered on in Canada. Canada, and Ontario in particular, lost out on critical automotive investment in 2010 as North American vehicle sales and production began to rebound, industry veteran Ray Tanguay, now an automotive advisor to the government of Canada and Ontario, reported in his 2018 "Drive to Win" report about the outlook for Canada's auto industry.
"In order for Canada to win investments we cannot just be competitive," Tanguay wrote in his report. "We need to be better than other jurisdictions south of the border."