Ontario launches Job Site Challenge, set to attract international manufacturing investments

Vic Fedeli (yellow tie), Flavio Volpe (two right of Fedeli) at Toyota Woodstock Thursday morning. Sawyer Bogdan/980 CFPL

The province has unveiled a new initiative aimed at identifying and promoting shovel-ready mega-sites where large manufacturers can set up shop in Ontario.

Provincial officials and industry stakeholders made the announcement at Toyota Woodstock Thursday morning regarding “Canada’s first job site challenge.”

They say the challenge will allow mega-site proposals by municipalities, economic development agencies and industrial property owners.

READ MORE: Should we stop freaking out about Ontario manufacturing jobs?

At the event, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli told 980 CFPL the initiative is aimed at advertising large sites in Ontario that are ready for development to manufacturers.

“First thing we do is work with the community to find these sites. Second thing would make them ready for a business. Third thing is to go worldwide and market these locations,” Fedeli said.

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“When a company decides they’re ready to expand, they select Ontario and the land is ready for them.”

The Job Site Challenge is modeled after mega-site programs in the United States.

Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, says Ontario is at a disadvantage.

He says states like New York and Tennessee advertise shovel-ready sites, outlining things like supplier infrastructure and the surrounding workforce, leaving Ontario in the lurch.

READ MORE: 5 jobs expected to be ‘vital’ for Canada’s economy in 2018

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According to Fedeli, the first shovel-ready sites are set to be made available to investors within a year.

“We want the communities to be ready to accept these manufactures from around the world, and we want that to happen by the fall [of 2020].”

Proposals will be accepted between Jan. 1st and March 31st, 2020.

— With files from Global News’ Sawyer Bogdan and Matthew Trevithick 

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