Ontario government proposes roundtable to strengthen competitive future in automotive industry
NEW YORK, Feb. 4 /CNW/ - Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bob Runciman said today he will hold roundtable discussions with automotive leaders, union representatives, municipal officials and academics to ensure that Ontario's auto industry remains, strong, competitive and growing.
Runciman and Federal Industry Minister Allan Rock discussed the roundtable while in New York for the World Economic Forum this past weekend. The discussions built on co-operative work already underway between the two governments.
"We need a vision that will help guide the industry over the next 20 years," Runciman said. "To do that we need the input of our stakeholders and strong support from Industry Canada. It is imperative that we take steps to ensure our economy continues to grow and that Ontario remains open for business."
Runciman said he was encouraged by Ottawa's positive response and emphasized that both governments must continue to work co-operatively to ensure a globally-competitive and prosperous automotive industry in Ontario and across the country.
"This is an excellent initiative to engage both governments and automotive industry stakeholders in a partnership to drive the sector's growth," Runciman said. "We need to gain agreement on what it is that drives sustained performance in the auto industry to allow Canada and Ontario to maintain their competitive positions and enhance new investments," Runciman added.
Potential topics for discussion at the roundtable on the automotive
- expanding research and development activity;
- training and the development of strategic skills;
- new technologies such as fuel cells;
- enhancing/upgrading technological and design capabilities;
- global competitiveness;
- best practices; and,
- outlook, challenges, and opportunities.
"The auto industry in our province remains strong, and is based on sound fundamentals," Runciman said. "But we can't ignore the challenges facing the industry today. The roundtable will be a catalyst to give the industry every opportunity to succeed."
Oakville Mayor Ann Mulvale said the roundtable will be valuable to local communities for which the auto sector is particularly important, and will complement their efforts to attract investment and cope with industry restructuring.
"I am pleased to support this important initiative," Mulvale said. "I believe that it is important for all levels of government, in partnership with auto industry and union leaders, to think and respond strategically to the changing competitive environment faced by the automotive sector."
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For further information: Jamie Wallace, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8779; Eric Shapiro, Communications Branch, (416) 325-6698