Reported by Richard Coffin

The Ford Government is looking to grow Ontario’s auto sector by building at least 400,000 electric and hybrid vehicles by 2030.

“It’s absolutely possible,” says Vic Fedeli, Nipissing MPP and Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “With the announcement that Ford made with their electric vehicle production in Oakville, we see General Motors producing vehicles at their CAMI plant in Ingersol and all of the other manufacturers.”

Fedeli and Premier Doug Ford announced the next phase of the government’s Auto Strategy in Guelph on Wednesday.

“Premier Ford and I presented our commitment to building the auto industry of the future.  That means building the cars, making the batteries here in Ontario, making the parts and mining the minerals.”

That’s where the north gets involved.

“This is an exciting time for Ontario, but it’s really an exciting time for northern Ontario because we have what it takes to make the batteries.”

Fedeli says there’s nickel in Sudbury and Cobalt, graphite in Hearst and lithium north of Red Lake.

“All of that needs to be mined and processed, and what do we do in North Bay? We have two of the world’s leading mine designing firms in Cementation and Red Path and we have 66 mining and machinery companies to make those consumable bits and drill rods,” he says. “This is going to be a once in a generation opportunity for us to get into this game.”

Along with becoming a North American automotive innovation hub, the province is looking to secure production mandates for hybrid and electric vehicles and create a domestic battery ecosystem.

“Our government has a plan to unleash Ontario’s economic potential as we build up home-grown supply chains for electric vehicles and battery manufacturing,” said Premier Doug Ford. “This plan makes clear that Ontario is a world-leading partner in creating the best vehicles with the best labour force and clean energy. With this next phase of Driving Prosperity, we’re telling the world: we want your businesses.”

The strategy looks to meet the global demand for electric vehicles and support domestic parts producers, workers and innovators.