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Economy

Ontario mayors meet in Oshawa to discuss future of auto industry

WATCH: Ten southern Ontario mayors met in Oshawa to discuss the future of the region's auto industry.

Mayors from across southern Ontario were in Oshawa on Tuesday to discuss the future of the auto industry.

The meeting was the first time that mayors who serve communities with an automotive industry have met in Oshawa since General Motors announced it will stop production at the company’s local assembly plant at the end of this year.

Ten municipal leaders attended the Ontario Auto-Mayors Roundtable, discussing everything from the future of the auto sector to the need to strengthen competitiveness in Canada’s auto industry and create an auto policy that looks into the future.

READ MORE: Unifor ‘confident’ about saving GM jobs in Oshawa

“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,” said Rob Burton, Oakville mayor and the meeting’s chair.

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The group also heard from General Motors vice-president of corporate affairs David Paterson, who spoke about GM’s commitment to jobs in innovation in the province.

“Obviously, we’re going through some challenging times, and it’s really important to communicate and share the optimism that we should be having about this industry. We have one of the strongest automobile sectors in the world right here in Ontario,” said Paterson.

READ MORE: General Motors files application with Ontario Labour Relations Board to stop ‘illegal strikes’

“(Paterson is) committed to the individuals that call Oshawa home, and he believes General Motors will still be one of our largest employers here. (GM is) working along with Unifor to be able to find ways to see what role and what kind of partnerships and collaborations can happen about jobs in the future,” said Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter.

The auto mayors work collaboratively to ensure the industry remains a strong driver of employment, innovation and productivity for Canada’s economy.

They’re scheduled to meet again this summer.

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