SETTING CANADA’S AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURING FOR LONG TERM SUCCESS

On June 11, the Canadian Automotive Partnership Council (CAPC) met for the 22nd time to discuss the ongoing global transformation of the automotive industry and Canada’s positioning for long term success. Discussions centered around the evolving path towards electric vehicles (EVs) and some of the opportunities and challenges facing Canada’s automotive sector during this period of transition. CAPC members were joined by the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry (Government of Canada), as well as the Honourable Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (Government of Ontario).

The Council began its discussions by highlighting the recent successes achieved by the Canadian automotive industry. Canada has seen major announced investments of over $46 billion across the industry since 2020, including investments in vehicle manufacturing and across the complete battery supply chain. CAPC members noted although the demand for electric vehicles (EVs) continues to fluctuate, EV uptake is expected to continue to grow over the long term. These successes build the foundation for attracting future investments and position Canada’s automotive and battery production industries to create economic growth and job opportunities.

As the pathways to electrification continue to unfold, the Council discussed some of the challenges faced by Canadian automakers and automotive suppliers, including concerns regarding the global production of EVs. The meeting provided industry leaders an opportunity to engage directly with Ministers on topics of trade, which was viewed as timely in light of the upcoming review of the Canada-US-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA) and concerns regarding imports of Chinese EVs and parts. The Council will continue its work at its next meeting, to be held in 2025.

Following the meeting, Co-Chair Rob Wildeboer provided the following comment: Our Council is focused on supporting our automotive assembly and Canadian parts industry, for the good of our employees and communities. It is great to have all the key industry players together — assemblers, parts suppliers, dealers, Unifor and our governments, all of whom have worked hard to make good things happen. We believe that Canada is well positioned to take advantage of our trade relationships, resources and new technologies such as electrification, and the broad range of recent investments is a testament to success. Canadian suppliers are world leaders in their fields, and it is essential we have a vibrant home base as a foundation.

Fellow Co-Chair, Jean Marc Leclerc added: In continuing to meet, CAPC has been a productive setting for dialogue among Canadian automotive manufacturers, suppliers, industry stakeholders and government as we all continue to work together to build an electrified future and the supportive infrastructure required for success. The speed of change remains brisk as we grasp opportunities and resolve challenges together through the spirit of cooperation keeping in focus the objective of ensuring Canada remains competitive and attractive for investments.

The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, noted:

Canada has everything it needs to be a global leader in battery manufacturing: access to global markets, a highly talented workforce, clean energy, world-leading innovation and all the critical mineral resources necessary to make batteries. The discussion I had with key members of Canada’s automotive industry reinforced that the transition to the production of EVs offers an opportunity for Canadian industry to build a cleaner and stronger economy for the benefits of all.

The Honourable Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade provided the following comment:

Over the past four years, Ontario has secured more than $43 billion in auto investments, solidifying our position as a global leader in the production and development of electric vehicles and batteries. As we continue to build the province’s fully integrated end-to-end supply chain, we extend our gratitude to the Council for their invaluable insights. Ongoing discussions between key industry leaders and government officials are crucial in maintaining our competitive edge, attracting both international and domestic companies to invest and grow in Ontario.

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