Mayors from ten different southern Ontario towns met in Oshawa this week to discuss the future of the Canadian province’s automotive industry.
Mayors in attendance at the meeting, dubbed the Ontario Auto Mayors Roundtable, included those from automotive industry-reliant towns such as Oshawa, Windsor and Ingersoll. Attendees discussed the current state of the province’s struggling automotive sector, the problems it is facing and potential policies they can enact that will help strengthen the industry going forward.
“They’ve painted an exciting picture of a new world of mobility, and all of us – as mayors, not just ‘auto mayors’ – are going to have some work ahead of us to get ready for it,” Oakville, Ontario mayor Rob Burton, who is also the meeting’s chair, told Canada’s Global News in an interview at the summit.
General Motors recently announced it would be closing down the Oshawa Assembly plant in Oshawa, Ontario, likely dealing a major blow to the town’s economy. GM Canada’s vice president of corporate affairs, David Paterson, attended the mayors’ meeting and acknowledged that the Canadian automotive industry is going through “some challenging times,” but also claimed that Ontario currently has “one of the strongest automobile sectors in the world,” right now.
GM is currently building a large “innovation hub” in downtown Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood, which will serve as an incubator for mobility solutions and also house the offices of Cadillac Canada and car-sharing service Maven. The automaker points to the Leslieville project and its other Ontario business ventures, such as its tech campus in Markham and GM Canada’s expanding headquarters in Oshawa, as proof of its belief in the future of the Canadian auto industry.
“GM’s investment in Canada has also created Canada’s largest automotive software engineering workforce as it continues to add jobs in next-generation automotive engineering, software and testing work in Oshawa, Markham, Kapuskasing and soon in Toronto. We are hiring for the future as our Canada engineering base grows toward 1,000 jobs,” GM said in a statement on its web portal dedicated to the current situation surrounding its Canadian operations, supportingoshawaworkers.ca.
The Ontario Auto Mayors Roundtable is expected to meet again this summer.