Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, speaks at the CAMM Conference at Caesars Windsor, September 9, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown, Blackburn News.

Auto industry boost announced in Windsor

The PC government has announced a $10 million boost for the auto industry in Ontario.

Less than 200 members of the local business, industrial and education communities gathered at the Augustus 27 venue at Caesars Windsor Monday night to hear Vic Fedeli, the Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, present the new Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP), a comprehensive partnership with smaller auto parts suppliers across the conference. The announcement was made during the annual general meeting of the Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM).

Using the Windsor and Detroit skylines as a backdrop, Fedeli said it was more important than ever to tout Ontario as a business-friendly place. In a veiled jab at the Trump administration, Fedeli said without these kinds of partnerships, everyone fails.

“Nobody wins when protectionist measures are implemented,” said Fedeli. “The path to growth and prosperity on both sides of the border is found in the cooperation of balanced trade.”

O-AMP is part of the 10-year vision of the province to strengthen the auto industry through partnerships with education entities, as well as research and development. The $10 million program is funded over the course of three years, according to the ministry.

The program provides businesses with $100,000 to cover up to half of the project costs. The other half is the responsibility of the applicant. Projects that deal with technology adoption and lean manufacturing are the focus of the O-AMP program.

To be eligible, businesses must have fewer than 500 employees, be for-profit with a business number, have less than a billion dollars in global revenues, be able to produce two years of financial statements, and have at least half of its total revenue come from the auto supply industry.

Jonathan Azzopardi, the outgoing chairman of CAMM, said programs like this are vital for the protection and growth of the auto supply sector in Ontario.

“We have a lot of ground to make up when it comes to manufacturing, staying competitive and modernizing our equipment and our workforce,” said Azzopardi. “The province recognizing the fact that we need a little bit of investment from them to derisk investment is a great move.”

Complete information about O-AMP is available at the official website for the province of Ontario.

Members of the local business community attend the Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM) annual meeting at Caesars Windsor on September 9, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown, Blackburn News.

Members of the local business community attend the Canadian Association of Mold Makers (CAMM) annual meeting at Caesars Windsor on September 9, 2019. Photo by Mark Brown, Blackburn News.