Premier Wynne Protecting Ontario's Economic Competitiveness
Province Calls on Federal Government to Provide Assistance to Ontario’s Agriculture and Auto Sectors
Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne gave a speech at the Toronto Region Board of Trade highlighting Ontario's plan to support Ontario workers and businesses, promote the benefits of free trade and enhance economic competitiveness in a period of economic uncertainty.
Premier Wynne discussed the province's active and ongoing engagement with U.S. leaders on NAFTA and her efforts to explore new opportunities with individual U.S. states to create growth and improve innovation. The Premier delivered her speech before heading to Washington, D.C., to participate in the National Governors Association Winter Meeting, where she will connect with key partners to continue building relationships and underscoring the value of Ontario-U.S. trade and partnership to our shared prosperity and regional competitiveness.
In her speech, the Premier also addressed concerns from Ontario's automotive and agricultural sectors over the current state of NAFTA renegotiations as well as the federal government's decision to sign the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CP-TPP), noting both the opportunities and challenges these trade developments pose for key Ontario industries.
The Premier reiterated her support for new opportunities for free trade, but made clear that the benefits of enhanced trade should not come at the expense of Ontario's auto workers, farmers and food producers. Premier Wynne called on the federal government to fulfill their commitment to provide transitional assistance to help Ontario's automotive and agri-food sectors adjust to the new realities created by the CP-TPP before ratifying the deal. The province is requesting at least $1.26 billion over 10 years in assistance for the auto sector and at least $1.4 billion over 10 years for the agri-food sector in Ontario.
Standing up for Ontario's agri-food and automotive workers is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change. The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- In 2016, Ontario’s auto sector contributed over $16 billion to the province’s GDP.
- Vehicle assembly and auto parts production directly supports more than 100,000 jobs in Ontario, with hundreds of thousands more spin-off jobs across the province.
- Ontario’s agri-food sector contributes $37.6 billion to the province’s GDP.
- More than 800,000 people work in Ontario’s agri-food sector — or 11.5 per cent of the total labour force.
“Ontario’s economy is strong, but we cannot sit idle in the face of challenges like NAFTA renegotiations and the new CP-TPP deal. Our automotive and agricultural sectors create good jobs for people in Ontario and are a vital part of the province’s economy — and Canada’s as a whole. I will do everything I can to make sure that workers and businesses in these industries have the support they need to succeed in changing times. We have a strong working relationship with our federal partners, and I am confident that they will fulfill previous commitments to help these industries adjust so they can continue to remain competitive.”