The Ontario government has sold the remaining 36.7 million General Motors shares it owned as a result of the automaker’s $10 billion government bailout, The Detroit News reports. The shares were sold over the last two weeks for a total of $1.1 billion, money that will go into a trust to “help build a new generation of public infrastructure that will improve the province’s long-term competitiveness and the well-being of all Ontarians,” the province’s finance minister said.
Ontario had previously predicted it would recover $900 million from the selling of its GM shares. Canada’s federal and Ontario governments contributed a total of $10 billion to help save the automotive industry in 2009, $4.8 billion of which was for GM and Chrysler.
In a statement, Canada’s federal government said “the Ontario and federal governments’ financial support to the auto sector in 2009 was crucial in protecting hundreds of thousands of jobs across the province,” however the jobs may not stick around for very long. Analysts believe GM’s Oshawa Assembly plant may soon close, with GM saying it’s waiting until 2016 to make a decision in regards to new vehicle commitments. The plant will lose it’s highest-volume vehicle next year, the Chevrolet Camaro, and is also expected lose its consolidated line that builds the Chevrolet Impala Limited and Chevrolet Equinox.
Officils with the Canadian and Ontario governments met with GM, Ford and Fiat-Chrysler during the Detroit Auto Show in January to discuss the future of the companies in Canada. Ford and FCA recently made major investments in Ontario, however there is a dark shadow cast over GM’s Oshawa plant, and Ontario doesn’t want to wait until 2016 for answers.
“We made it very clear that we would like to see an indication on the future of Oshawa sooner, in particular because the timing is very challenging for our supply chain to be able to adjust to potentially future orders or changes, but also to know that there are going to be future opportunities at Oshawa,” Brad Duguid, Ontario minister of economic development, employment and infrastructure, said in a statement.
GM Canada President Stephen Carlisle claims GM is committed to Canada, but said GM must complete 2016 union contract negotiations with Unifor, formerly the Canadian Auto Workers union, before moving forward.
But he said GM but must complete 2016 union contract negotiations with Unifor (the union created by the Canadian Auto Workers’ merger with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union) before making a final decision on what might be built at Oshawa.