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Ottawa, Ontario rolling out half a billion dollars for Ford’s electric vehicle overhaul

Click to play video 'Trudeau announces $1.8 billion in funding for Ford Motors electric vehicle overhaul' Trudeau announces $1.8 billion in funding for Ford Motors electric vehicle overhaul
WATCH: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday announced a total of $1.8 billion in funding, in collaboration with Ford Motor Company and the Ontario government, toward overhauling the Oakville, Ont. assembly plant to manufacture electric vehicles.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford are rolling out half a billion dollars as part of a nearly $2-billion plan to overhaul Ford’s Oakville assembly plant to manufacture electric vehicles and batteries.

The federal and provincial governments are each chipping in $295 million to mass produce electric vehicles — and the batteries that power them — at the manufacturing plant.

It is part of a three-year agreement worth nearly $2 billion that was announced last month between the automaker and Unifor, the union that represents autoworkers in Canada.

“This shows how much we can do when we work together,” said Trudeau at a joint press conference with Ford, provincial and federal legislators, and Jerry Dias, the head of Unifor.

Click to play video 'Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces province working with feds, Oakville to purchase new electric buses, charging stations' Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces province working with feds, Oakville to purchase new electric buses, charging stations
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announces province working with feds, Oakville to purchase new electric buses, charging stations

Ford said his government is “all in” on supporting the industry despite having faced criticism in the past for cancelling a planned rebate to encourage people to buy electric vehicles.

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“We’re blazing a new trail with this announcement,” said Ford.

“Rather than bickering and arguing with each other, when we’re all pulling in the same direction, this is the result we get.”

Read more: Union representing Canadian auto workers announces new deal with Ford

 

The Oakville plant employs 3,400 Ford workers and Dias has said retooling the plant to produce electric vehicles will save 3,000 of those jobs.

Click to play video 'Ontario, feds investing $295 million each to support Ford Motor Company’s Oakville, Ont. assembly plant' Ontario, feds investing $295 million each to support Ford Motor Company’s Oakville, Ont. assembly plant
Ontario, feds investing $295 million each to support Ford Motor Company’s Oakville, Ont. assembly plant

From the Liberal government’s perspective, the investment will not only help secure good-paying jobs in the struggling auto sector. It hopes it will give Canada an edge in the global competition to meet what’s expected to be explosive demand for electric vehicles in the near future.

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The investment is also part of the government’s commitment to invest in the transition to a clean, renewable-energy economy, with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Click to play video 'Pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle' Pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle
Pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle

It has already committed more than $300 million to create a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across the country. And it is providing incentives of up to $5,000 off the price of purchasing or leasing electric and hybrid vehicles.

The federal government also hopes the new investment will help boost home-grown mining companies that produce the nickel and other metals used to make the batteries for electric vehicles.