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$500 Million Auto Investment Strategy Means Better Workers For Better Jobs In An Innovative Economy

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$500 Million Auto Investment Strategy Means Better Workers For Better Jobs In An Innovative Economy

Delivering The Real, Positive Change That Will Strengthen Ontario’s Economy

Office of the Premier

HAMILTON -- Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty unveiled today a new $500 million Automotive Investment Strategy that will train our workers for the next generation of innovation in the industry.

"This strategy leverages our greatest asset: the skills of our people," said Premier Dalton McGuinty.

"By investing in our workers and their skills, we can attract new investment and create high-wage jobs in the province's largest manufacturing sector. It's a real, positive change that will strengthen our economy."

Over the next five years, the Ontario Automotive Investment Strategy will provide support for leading-edge auto manufacturing projects that are worth more than $300 million in investment or that create or retain more than 300 jobs.

The strategy's $500 million fund is earmarked to partner with industry for advanced-skills training for our workers, improved environmental and energy technologies, public infrastructure and investments in research and innovation.

It's estimated that the $500 million has the potential to spur up to $5 billion in automotive investments, said Joseph Cordiano, the Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

"We are investing in better jobs by investing in better workers, and the tools they need to succeed," Cordiano said.

"Our automotive industry will be globally competitive, anchoring high-value jobs, which bring other benefits such as tax revenue to improve education and health services and increase our standard of living."

The strategy is receiving praise from both the industry and its workers.

"This commitment has the potential to leverage and drive a very significant
return on investment for Ontario -- large auto projects have one of the greatest
multiplier effects for job creation, technology development, supplier
development and more," said Michael Grimaldi, Co-Chair of the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC).

"This strategy responds with strong leadership to one of the top priorities
studied and identified by CAPC. We commend the provincial government for
taking the lead in helping the auto industry map out a prosperous future in
Ontario."

Buzz Hargrove, National President of the Canadian Auto Workers Union, said the McGuinty government has sent a strong signal that it understands the importance of the sector to the Ontario and Canadian economy.

"This strategy was something Premier McGuinty talked about during the election. He has listened to us and this strategy is going to be good for Ontarians," Hargrove said.

"This is a positive and welcome change from previous governments who took our sector for granted, when other jurisdictions were stepping up to attract investment and jobs that we want for Ontario. This is good news for this industry and great news for the Province of Ontario."

The auto industry is a pillar of the Ontario economy. It accounted for 45 per cent of Ontario's exports in 2003. There are 331,000 jobs in the auto industry -- in everything from manufacturing to sales to service. And it supports thousands of additional jobs in supplier industries such as steel, plastics and glass.

"We can compete with the world for the best jobs, the highest wages, and the highest quality of life, by building the most highly skilled, productive workforce in North America," said Premier McGuinty.


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