DAN CEARNS The Standard
DURHAM: Hundreds of jobs at General Motors Canada’s (GM) Oshawa plant will be saved because of a $170 million investment the company is making in the site to transition it from vehicle production to stamping, sub-assembly and testing of autonomous and advanced technology vehicles.
The “Transformation Agreement” was announced on Wednesday, May 8th, and is expected to save 300 jobs, with more jobs possibly added in the coming years.
As well as stamping and sub-assembly, part of the property, at the southern end of the plant, will be converted into a test track for autonomous vehicles.
“We are very happy to hear that GM Canada will continue to be a part of Durham’s innovative tech cluster with plans that include converting part of the Oshawa Plant into a test track for autonomous and advanced technology vehicles. GM has made it clear they intend to grow and maintain the integrity of their operations in Durham Region. These plans will further our ability to support an autonomous vehicle industry cluster in Durham Region,” Durham Regional Chair John Henry said, in a statement released to The Standard. “Durham is one of the fastest growing municipalities in Canada with a diverse and skilled labour force, affordable real estate, extensive transportation network, and world-renowned research facilities. We will continue to work with our partners in all levels of government, post-secondary institutions and stakeholders to support residents during this transition.”
GM had announced in late November they were planning to close the plant at the end of 2019. However, because the facility will now remain open as result of the transition deal, Jerry Dias, Unifor National President, is pleased.
“By maintaining a footprint in Oshawa, and keeping the plant intact, we save hundreds of jobs and this gives us the ability to build and create new jobs in the future. We are in a much better position than we were five months ago when the plant was closing,” he said, in a press release.
Scugog Mayor Bobbie Drew feels this agreement is good for the entirety of Durham Region. “It sounds like it’s good news for Oshawa and then for Durham Region as well, because what’s good for one of our municipalities is good for all of us. It’s good to have people back to work, and it sounds like there’ll be good jobs and that’s all wonderful news,” she told The Standard.
In an email statement to The Standard, Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton said he thinks this deal is great for Durham’s economy.
“I was pleased to hear the news of reinvestment in GM’s Oshawa location. These 300 direct jobs will help fuel our economy and keep more of our Durham Regional families secure in the coming years. I am also happy to hear that GM is reinvesting in engineering and testing in Durham Region. The technology in our vehicles is changing quickly. We must leverage our skilled workforce to keep these types of investments coming, which will bring more high paying jobs to Durham Region,” he said.
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