General Catchment Updates

  • Windsor firms would benefit should Ontario land record Honda investment – January 11, 2024.
    • The Windsor area should be one of the big beneficiaries should the Honda investment land in Ontario.
    • There will be opportunities for tool and die, mould making, automation firms, and parts manufacturers should the investment come to fruition.
    • Link to related article.
  • No Detroit auto show in 2024, as organizers move event back to January
    • The next show will be held January 2025.
    • The show has taken place in September the previous two years.
    • Link to related article.
  • New online tool outlines how to land a job in the EV sector – December 7, 2023.
    • Job resource compiles what’s needed to make the jump, targets manufacturing workers.
    • The online resource was released to provide career transition suggestions for people with automotive or manufacturing experience.
    • The new EV Career Pathways Resource is available on the Workforce WindsorEssex website.
    • Link to related article.
  • The bridge to Windsor’s revitalized future – December 8, 2023.
    • New life has been given to Windsor’s economy, driven by the transition to EVs.
    • NextStar has said it expects 15 suppliers will follow it into Windsor to create a battery hub.
    • Link to related article.
  • Ontario Welcomes $35 Million Manufacturing Investment in Windsor – December 11, 2023.
    • Bobaek America’s new facility will boost Ontario’s automotive supply chain and create 144 good-paying jobs.
    • The facility will produce battery insulation panels and cell sheets for EVs.
    • Link to related article.
  • St. Anne takes delivery of new EV – December 14, 2023.
    • Students at St. Anne Catholic High School are learning what the future of the automotive manufacturing sector will look like now that they school has its own Switch electric vehicle.
    • St. Anne became the first high school in Canada to receive one of the educational kit cars.
    • Over the course of a semester, senior students will assemble the car, learning the intricacies of EVs at every step of the way.
    • Link to related article.
  • Auto sector in 2023 fuelled by historic investments, transformative drive – December 28, 2023.
  • Universities announced for the Battery Workforce Challenge – December 30, 2023.
    • Selected universities and vocational partners will design, build, test, and integrate an advanced EV battery into a future Stellantis vehicle.
    • Lambton College: Lambton Energy Research Centre in Sarnia, Ontario was selected as a vocational partner to the University of Waterloo for the Battery Workforce Challenge.
    • Link to related article.
  • Dodge muscle cars to be built in Windsor – November 3, 2023.
    • The Windsor Assembly Plant will build the next generation of Dodge muscle cars.
    • Unifor circulated the details to members in a bargaining report on Friday as it aims to ratify a new three-year collective agreement with the 8,200 members it represents at the automaker.
    • Link to related article.
  • Stellantis workers vote to accept new deal – November 6, 2023.
    • Production workers ratified agreement by 60%.
    • The three-year collective agreement will cover about 8,200 Unifor members, including about 4,500 members at the Windsor Assembly Plant.
    • Link to related article.
  • New electrified muscle cars coming to Windsor Assembly Plant – November 8, 2023.
    • Stellantis confirmed the retooling of the Windsor Assembly Plan would see the production of next generation Dodge muscle cars to replace the outgoing gas-powered stalwarts.
    • The new car production will be the result of the ongoing $1.89 billion retooling of the plant to install the STLA Large architecture platform that will serve as the base for a slew of new vehicles including traditional gas-power, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric powertrains.
    • Link to related article.
  • Employees of auto parts supplier Integram Seating in Lakeshore, Ont. are on strike – November 8, 2023.
    • The facility feeds Windsor’s Stellantis minivan plant.
    • Local 444 represents the employees, who have been told to show up for their normal shifts but on the picket line.
    • Workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action earlier this fall and officially went on strike after midnight on Wednesday.
    • Link to related article.
  • Stellantis plans 3-shift operations at Ontario plants, but not soon – November 8, 2023.
    • Stellantis in a new contract with Unifor spelled out long-awaited production plans for its two Ontario assembly plants that employ about 7,700 workers.
    • Stellantis plans to return its assembly plants in Brampton and Windsor, ON to three shifts by 2026.
    • Link to related article.
  • Windsor batter plant draws flood of applicants as hiring begins – November 9, 2023.
    • Hiring for the first 130 job openings at the NextStar Energy plant received over 5,000 applications in the first week alone.
    • The plant is no longer worried about whether it will be able to attract the talent it needs.
    • The geographic range of applicants has confirmed NextStar is going to impressive pulling power.
    • Link to related article.
  • Union says striking seat factor workers have high expectations after Detroit 3 deals – November 9, 2023.
    • Integram employs roughly 900 workers at its Patillo Road facility and makes seats for the automotive industry — a good portion of which feed the Stellantis assembly plant in Windsor.
    • With Stellantis’ Windsor assembly plant coming out of retooling, it could be affected by the seat manufacturing strike as soon as next week.
    • He said there are a number of workplace issues specific to the Lakeshore factory, such as employee breaks, that need to be addressed in negotiations. 
    • Financial issues surrounding wages, pension and benefits are the other major sticking points for union members.
    • Link to related article.
  • Canada’s Magna, Unifor reach tentative labour deal – November 13, 2023.
    • Canada’s Magna International has reached a tentative agreement with Unifor, a company spokesperson said on Monday, the latest in a series of deals struck by North American labor unions following their tough stance over wages and working conditions.
    • Both parties resumed talks last week after workers staged a walkout at the auto parts supplier’s Integram seat manufacturing plant in Windsor, Ontario.
    • The spokesperson added that members of Unifor Local 444 employed at the Magna Integram plant would be returning to work on Monday.
    • Link to related article.
  • $10K bonuses for autoworkers expected to boost the Windsor-Essex economy – November 15, 2023.
    • Thousands of workers in Windsor-Essex are set to receive bonuses of up to $10,000 negotiated as part of new contracts with the Detroit Three automakers.
    • The bonuses will inject cash into the region’s economy ahead of the holidays.
    • Link to related article.
  • EV battery deals to cost $5.8B more due to lost corporate tax on subsidies, budget officer says – November 17, 2023.
    • Investment to break even in 23 years at Stellantis-LG battery plant according to budget officer.
    • The shortfall of $5.8B over 10 years can be attributed to lost corporate income because the Canadian deal has to keep pace with the Advanced Manufacturing Production Credit (AMPC) in the United States.
    • Under the U.S. deal, manufacturers get a tax credit, based on a calculation of per kilowatt-hour of energy, but in Canada that financial support per kilowatt-hour is delivered through a taxable subsidy. 
    • Economist Jim Stanford, director of the B.C. based Centre for Future Work, told CBC News the PBO report misses the point of the subsidies by choosing to evaluate them as an investment, rather than an attempt to ensure the economy is well-placed to capitalize on the green transition.
    • Link to related article.
  • Parts association president slams PBO report on cost of government battery plant investments – November 19, 2023.
    • A new report from Canada’s parliamentary budget officer indicates the cost of government support for electric vehicle battery plants is higher than reported, by billions, and an industry spokesperson isn’t happy about it.
    • The PBO published an updated report Friday, suggesting the combined cost of government production subsidies for the Stellantis-LG battery plant in Windsor, the Volkswagen battery plant in St. Thomas, and the Northvolt plant in Quebec is $43.6 billion over 10 years, “Which is $5.8 billion higher than the $37.7 billion in announced costs,” said Yves Giroux, Canada’s parliamentary budget officer.
    • Giroux said his methodology for determining a return-on-investment includes calculating direct economic benefits, indirect impact like the supply chain, and the induced economic activity it creates.
    • Auto Parts Manufacturer’s Association president Flavio Volpe isn’t buying it, calling the report “inaccurate.”
    • Volpe argues the battery plants will be the anchor in an EV ecosystem where supply chain spin-offs will speed up that break-even period, noting those weren’t taken into account by the PBO.
    • Link to related article.
  • Plan to bring in South Korean workers for NextStar battery plant sparks backlash – November 20, 2023.
    • NextStar CEO says workers being brought in for their ‘specialized expertise’.
    • A spokesperson for Canada’s minister of employment says they have not seen “reasonable justification” from NextStar for the use of temporary workers from South Korea, as the news sparks backlash among politicians who want to see jobs go to Canadians because of the massive subsidies the EV battery plant received. 
    • Link to related article.
  • Ford government slams feds for hiring foreign workers to build Ontario battery plant – November 20, 2023.
    • The Doug Ford government sidestepped questions about hundreds of foreign workers being brought in to build a battery plant in Windsor, Ont., and instead placed the responsibility on the federal government.
    • Neither the federal nor the provincial governments have confirmed the number of foreign workers expected to be involved in the project.
    • Link to related article.
  • MPs raising alarm over use of temporary foreign workers being used to set up NextStar battery plant – November 20, 2023.
    • Some MPs are raising the alarm over the use of temporary foreign workers being used to set up the NextStar Energy electric vehicle battery plant.
    • In a letter submitted Friday to the Chair of the Standing Committee on Industry and Technology, signed by four Conservative MP’s and New Democrat Windsor – West MP Brian Masse, they requested an emergency meeting to ‘fight for Canadian jobs’.
    • Link to related article.
  • North America battery technology centre begins to take shape – November 21, 2023.
    • The first of 228 steel structural columns weighing over 800 tonnes have begun to take shape in the ongoing construction of the new Stellantis North America Battery Technology Centre located at the Automotive Research and Development Centre.
    • Spanning 100,000 square feet, this state-of-the-art facility will soon house 35 walk-in climatic test cells for testing up to 63 packs, and 11 reach-in test cells for testing up to 132 cells. The facility will also perform testing through a climatic operation range of -40 degrees Celsius to +80 degree Celsius.
    • The Battery Technology Centre will serve as the Stellantis North America hub for the development and validation of advanced Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) and Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) cells, modules and battery packs with a storage area capacity of 120 EV Battery Packs. The new Battery Technology Centre will also build on the ARDC’s academic partnership with the University of Windsor on various testing projects.
    • The Battery Technology Centre is part of the major $3.6 billion CAD investment Stellantis announced in May 2022, with support from all three levels of government.
    • Link to related article.
  • Hiring South Koreans for NextStar EV plant build was expected, says Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce head – November 21, 2023.
    • Stakeholders always knew foreign workers would be needed to launch the massive electric vehicle (EV) battery plant in the works in Windsor, Ont., the head of the regional chamber of commerce said amid controversy over the expected hiring of hundreds of South Koreans for the NextStar EV battery factory.
    • According to Rakesh Naidu, President and CEO of the Windsor-Essex Chamber of Commerce, it’s “very normal” for a company to bring in workers from outside Canada who have specialized expertise when establishing new technical facilities.
    • Link to related article.
  • Taxpayer-subsidized Stellantis battery plant potentially importing international workers – November 22, 2023.
    • A handful of temporary workers from South Korea have arrived in Windsor to staff up a new Stellantis electric vehicle battery manufacturing plant, according to officials with the Ontario government, raising concerns that massive taxpayer subsidies could be used to employ international auto workers over Canadians.
    • A spokesperson for the Federal Minister of Employment insisted the deal with Stellantis would create “sustainable jobs for Canadians” and downplayed the number of international positions.
    • Link to related article.
  • Building Trades, CECCO press NextStar to discuss precise skills need on Windsor battery plant – November 24, 2023.
    • Directors with the provincial and national building trades say they are still waiting to meet with NextStar Energy management to discuss the precise skills required to build the Stellantis battery plant in Windsor, Ont. to commissioning.
    • Link to related article.
  • Magna workers ratify deal after strike – November 24, 2023.
    • Tentative agreement covers 800 members at a Windsor tier one supplier of seating products to Stellantis.
    • Unifor union members at Magna Integram in Canada ratified a new tentative agreement after a five day strike at the auto parts manufacturing plant.
    • Link to related article.
  • NextStar Energy confirms foreign worker count at Windsor battery plant – November 24, 2023.
    • NextStar Energy has confirmed the number of foreign workers coming to Windsor to help get its new electric vehicle battery plant up to full operation.
    • On Thursday, a statement from NextStar Energy in response to questions from CTV News indicated approximately 1,600 technicians will “assemble, install and test” the specialized equipment required to build the batteries; and up to 900 of those technicians are predominantly from South Korea.
    • According to NextStar Energy, the work is expected to last between three months to 18 months — upon which time those specialists are expected to return home.
    • Link to related article.
  • Fedeli calms waters over NextStar foreign temporary workers issue – November 24, 2023.
    • Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Vic Fedeli dispelled concerns over the use of foreign specialty workers Friday following a discussion with NextStar Energy CEO Danies Lee.
    • These workers will also assist with training 700 Ontario workers to equip them with the net new skills that will lay the groundwork for work on future projects of this kind as we transition to building the cars of the future.
    • A number of local firms have already been contracted to help the specialized workers and companies coming to install the machinery by supplying equipment rentals, some trades, loading and unloading machinery and in other support roles.
    • When fully operational in 2025, it’s expected 90 to 95 per cent of the plant’s 2,500-member workforce will be comprised of domestic workers.
    • Link to related article.
  • Ontario Premier Doug Ford defends use of foreign workers at Stellantis battery plant – November 24, 2023.
    • The premier noted that workers are being brought in because they understand the technology being used.
    • They’re all coming here part-time. They’re going to set up the plant, there’re going to do the training, and then they’re going to go back,” he said. “That’s going to have spin-off jobs.
    • Link to related article.
  • Unifor’s pattern bargaining threatened by Stellantis members in Windsor, Ontario – October 6, 2023.
    • Unifor members working at the Stellantis assembly plant in Windsor could try to break break the pattern of traditional bargaining with the Detroit Three automakers.
    • Link to related article.
  • Unifor to ‘pressure Stellantis’ to include Windsor EV battery plant in contract talks – October 6, 2023.
    • The union will pressure Stellantis to make sure they go to the joint venture and make sure they understand there is going to be Local 444 members at the battery plant.
    • Linked to related article.
  • Windsor firm partners to build ‘extreme-fast charging’ e-vehicle batteries – October 10, 2023.
    • Flex-N-Gate and ‘extreme-fast charging’ battery company StoreDot have announced a partnership that will see the Israeli firm use Windsor’s Flex-Ion Battery and Innovation Centre to begin producing cells that can recharge capacity in minutes.
    • Samples of SotreDot’s 100in5 battery cells will begin production next year at Flex-Ion’s lithium-ion cell pilot factory while working with local automotive OEMs to produce cells with specified performance and formats.
    • Link to related article.
  • Lambton College’s research capacity grows with opening of new lab – October 11, 2023.
    • Lambton College celebrated the opening Wednesday of a new applied research lab aimed at expanding its research projects in partnership with companies in the plastics, rubber and other materials industries.
    • Link to related article.
  • Magna Integram Windsor Seating workers vote 99 percent in favour of strike – October 16, 2023.
    • Integram is a Tier 1 supplier for the Windsor Assembly Plant, building seats for the minivans produced at the plant.
    • Production operators at the plant could be affected if Integram workers go on strike.
    • Wages, pensions, and benefits will be the top three issues going into talks.
    • The current contract expires on November 4.
    • Link to related article.
  • UAW strike could impact Ford engine plant in Windsor by week’s end – October 17, 2023.
    • With Unifor opening contract negotiations with Stellantis Wednesday and a strike deadline set for 11:59pm on October 29, workers at Windsor’s Annex Engine Plant also face a potential shutdown in a matter of days due to the autoworkers’ strike across the border.
    • Link to related article.
  • Unifor and Stellantis begin talks Tuesday – October 17, 2023.
    • Unifor is set to begin negotiations with Stellantis after union members at GM voted in favour of a tentative deal over the weekend.
    • While union members at GM voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, Dave Cassidy, president of Unifor Local 444 says he’s heard from Stellantis members that they’re not happy with the proposed terms.
    • Link to related article.
  • Origin Materials begins commercial scale production at Sarnia plant – October 19, 2023.
    • Origin 1 enables, for the first time, the commercial-scale production of Origin’s versatile chemical building-blocks, which can decarbonize and improve the performance of a wide range of end-products, including green tires for the automotive industry.
    • Link to related article.
  • UAW’s tentative deal with Ford ‘good news’ for Windsor workers – October 26, 2023.
    • Worker’s at Ford’s Annex Engine Plant in Windsor are relieved that the UAW union in the US reached a tentative contract agreement with Ford that will avert planned layoffs at the local factory.
    • The Annex Engine Plant makes 6.8- and 7.3-litre engines for Ford’s larger F-series pickups and employs nearly 900 people.
    • Link to related article.
  • Stellantis vote could be narrow, or workers could strike: auto journalist – October 27, 2023.
    • Automotive expert says Windsor Unifor members hold “swing votes” to “crush” a potential deal if they want.
    • If no deal is reached by 11:59pm, Stellantis workers may hit the picket line.
    • Stellantis is the last of the Detroit Three automakers to bargain with Unifor.
    • Link to related article.
  • Current auto talks highlight divergent paths of Unifor, UAW – October 27, 2023.
    • It’s been nearly 40 years since Canadian autoworkers split from the UAW, and Unifor national president Lana Payne feels the focus on this year’s negotiations with the Detroit automakers has highlighted the divergent paths the two unions have taken since 1985.
    • Link to related article.
  • University of Windsor launches course on success in the auto industry – October 28, 2023.
    • The school’s Continuing Education program has launched a new online course geared toward professionals in the auto industry. The Electric Vehicle Powertrain Systems course was created based on case studies on commercially-available EVs.
    • Link to related article.
  • NextStar plant can help Windsor transform from car city to global EV hub – October 30, 2023.
    • The NextStar Energy EV battery plant can help the city redefine itself as the place to be for zero-emissions public transit innovation.
    • Building a globally competitive EV battery industry requires strategic investments from universities, colleges, and local small- and medium-sized enterprises.
    • Link to related article.
  • After 7-hour strike, Unifor reaches tentative deal with Stellantis – October 30, 2023.
    • A tentative deal has been reached that secures over $3 billion in investments and has ensured the future of plants in Windsor, Brampton, and Etobicoke.
    • Details about the new deal can be found in the link to the article below.
    • Link to related article.
  • Stellantis Windsor assembly plant celebrates 100,000th Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid – September 1, 2023.
    • Production of the Chrysler Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid began on Dec. 1, 2016, with a 2023 Pearl Pacifica Plug-In Hybrid Touring-L serving as the 100,000th produced.
  • Hundreds of EV chargers to be installed across Windsor-Essex – September 6, 2023.
    • The federal government has committed $4.3 million to invest in battery charging infrastructure in Windsor-Essex.
    • By December 2024, the investment will help deliver 332 public electric charging stations to the region.
  • Report states Federal and Ontario governments will break even in 20 years on $28.2B EV plant subsidies – September 12, 2023.
    • The report was released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO).
    • Report states it will be 2043 before the Stellantis-LGES EV battery plant in Windsor and the Volkswagen plant in St. Thomas generate enough federal and provincial tax revenue to total the subsidies.
    • Irek Kusmierczyk, Liberal MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, said the report does not look at the whole picture and fails to take into account secondary investments.
  • Ontario welcomes $15M manufacturing investment in Windsor – September 14, 2023.
    • The investment is being made by Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing Ltd., a global manufacturer of mid- to large-size molds used in several sectors, including the automotive sector.
    • The investment will help the company increase productivity and expand its product offerings to include larger tools and molds.
  • About 13,000 U.S auto workers go on strike at Detroit’s three automakers – September 14, 2023.
    • This marks the first time in UAW’s 88-year history that it walked out on all three companies simultaneously.
    • Workers went on strike after their leaders couldn’t bridge a giant gap between union demands in contract talks and what the automakers are willing to pay.
  • Windsor’s Mayor and a local MPP attend Detroit auto show – September 14, 2023.
    • Windsor Mayor, Drew Dilkens and MPP for Windsor-Tecumseh, Andrew Dowie, attended the event on Wednesday, September 14.
    • Dilkens says it is important to understand what is happening in other regions.
    • Ontario Premier Doug Ford also made an appearance at the show on Wednesday.
  • Manufacturers say American autoworker strike could idle Canadian supplier plants – September 22, 2023.
    • The ongoing strike by autoworkers at automotive plants in the US may idle manufacturing plants in Canada.
    • Tier 1, 2, and 3 automotive suppliers may be affected by the ongoing strike.
    • The majority of manufacturers supplying the auto industry operate along the highway 401, including many in Windsor, and may have to reduce hours or try to land other contracts.
  • Windsor reacts to new Unifor Ford deal – September 26, 2023.
    • The three-year collective agreement was ratified with 54% support, and contains wage increases, signing bonuses, and re-activates a cost-of-living allowance.
    • The deal covers 5,600 Ford workers in Canada, including 1,722 in Windsor.
  • Ontario incentives, UWindsor’s CHARGE Lab draw interest from companies at Detroit auto show – September 26, 2023.
    • Invest WindsorEssex representatives were present at the Detroit auto show to entice some of the more than 150 innovative startup firms in attendance to the Canadian side of the border.
      • The concentration of exhibitors produced several new leads for local officials.
    • The NextStar Energy batter factory and the local auto plants electrifying the automotive supply chain have put Windsor on the map with foreign companies.
    • UWindsor’s CHARGE Lab was also present. The Lab has established itself as one of Canada’s leading hybrid automotive research and green energy programs.
    • The university has a long relationship with automotive firms, such as Ford, Stellantis, and Magna International, as well as partnering more recently with the German company Vistesco Technologies Group (motors, powertrains).
  • Windsor Assembly Plant Shut-Down to happen week of August 21st.
    • The shut-down is expected to last for one week.
  • Invest WindsorEssex increasing efforts to attract talent to the local labour market – August 3, 2023.
    • The economic development organization is in the process of hiring a Talent Attraction Specialist to engage with key stakeholders in the local education sector, government organizations, and employers to address employment needs, while actively promoting Windsor-Essex as an attractive employment destination.
    • Talent will be a key component of the region’s success during the transition from automotive to automobility.
    • The battery plant and other supply chain companies in the region need to have a labour pool to access talent from and that is what Invest WindsorEssex is working toward moving forward.
  • What the EV transition means for the heart of Canada’s auto industry – August 11, 2023.
    • The Windsor area is home to hundreds of manufacturing shops making parts or equipment for production lines.
    • Companies big and small in the region are finding early traction in a transition to electrified transportation that could easily have left them behind.
  • Windsor inching closer to landing another major foreign investment – August 17, 2023.
    • Windsor is closer to landing the largest capital investment by a company in the EV supply chain since the announcement of the NextStar Energy battery plant in March 2022.
    • The firm specializes in cutting-edge technology and production in the EV powertrain space.
    • It would employ over 300 people and cost between $600-$700 million to build.
    • The federal and provincial governments have provided incentive packages.
  • Ontario investing $160 million to train workers – August 25, 2023.
    • This investment is to address a labour shortage in the province.
    • It includes money for skill development in the auto-manufacturing sector and skilled trades.
  • Unifor members deliver ‘overwhelming’ strike mandate to Detroit 3 auto companies – August 28, 2023.
    • Unionized workers at Ford, GM, and Stellantis have voted almost 100% in favour of strike mandates.
    • Unifor represents 18,000 autoworkers covered by collective agreements, including nearly 5,000 at the Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant.
  • Electra announced Three Fires Group investment in battery recycling project – July 5, 2023.
    • The Three Fires Group, an Indigenous-owned development group within the catchment has signed an MOU with Electra Battery Materials Corp to work towards a joint venture in recycling lithium-ion battery waste generated in Southwestern Ontario.
  • Automaker Stellantis has reached an agreement with the federal and Ontario governments on the construction of a planned electric vehicle battery plant in Windsor – July 5, 2023.
    • In the new deal, the provincial government will provide $5B in tax breaks, with another $10B coming from Ottawa – totalling $15B in tax break incentives.
    • The NextStar Energy plant construction has fully resumed.
  • Auto contract talks “most complex” in history – July 19, 2023.
    • With the start of national bargaining between the Detroit automakers and Unifor just weeks away, the contract talks are being described by all parties as the most complex in the history of the industry.
    • In addition to pensions, benefits, and wages, Unifor’s key priorities will be transition plans to electric vehicle production and securing new products.
    • National talks will get underway August in Toronto, but local bargaining on issues at area plants has already begun.
  • Invest WindsorEssex to receive $200k from the Canadian government to help support the growth of the EV sector in Windsor-Essex – July 19, 2023.
    • This investment will support the participation of 120 local companies in the local EV supply chain.
    • The investment will help ensure local companies have the resources, tools, and support they need to capture new opportunities in the EV sector and attract and keep talent.
    • Invest WindsorEssex will help companies identify and prepare for new EV supply chain opportunities. They will help companies build their workforces, as well as deliver at least eight new training workshops over the next two years.
  • Announcement near for a company setting up in Windsor-Essex linked to new battery plant – July 20, 2023.
    • Mayor Drew Dilkens says the City of Windsor has approved a deal for a new company to locate in Windsor-Essex and are formalizing the announcement.
    • It is currently unknown what company will be locating in the region and when the announcement will be, but Mayor Dilkens has stated more announcements are possible soon. The City of Windsor has two more companies it’s currently working with.
  • Windsor’s Vehiqilla named one of world’s autonomous vehicle firms to watch – July 21, 2023.
    • The Windsor-based automotive cybersecurity firm has been named one of the top 10 businesses in the world to watch in the autonomous vehicle sector by a firm that tracks millions of startups and emerging companies.
    • Vehiqilla was the only Canadian company and automotive cybersecurity firm to make the StartUS Insight 2023 list.
    • Vehiqilla making the list will help others discover Windsor’s growing automobility cluster. They have been receiving an increasing number of calls from companies outside the region and country interested in partnering with Vehiqilla.
  • Windsor lands another big EV auto supply chain company – July 24, 2023.
    • Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens confirmed the city has landed another EV supply chain company.
    • The city has reached an agreement with a South Korean firm that’ll provide insulation for the batteries produced at the NextStar Energy plant.
    • The plant will be located on Windsor Airport’s industrial lands.
    • The plant was originally expected to be a $60- to $90-million, 170,000-square-foot facility creating about 300 jobs, but Dilkens said the company is looking to scale up. The company is seeking to add nine acres and 200 additional jobs.
  • Ontario and Michigan sign economic agreement – July 25, 2023.
    • The new Economic Cooperation Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aims to support joint initiatives in priority areas, such as electric vehicles and related supply chains.
    • These initiatives could include joint trade promotion and missions, new post-secondary exchange programs, and efforts to identify opportunities for strategic partnerships that will help businesses compete internationally.
    • As part of the MOU, Ontario and Michigan will establish a Procurement Cooperation Council. The council will support an open dialogue on government procurement, improving transparency and engagement on government purchasing for businesses from both jurisdictions.
    • The agreement with Michigan is part of the Ontario government’s strategy for trade with the U.S.
  • Stellantis working “day and night” to build Ontario battery plant – July 26, 2023.
    • Construction is coming completely back, and the company is finding ways to make up for the seven weeks of delay caused by ongoing negotiations.
  • Major automakers to unite to build electric vehicle charging network to rival Tesla – July 26, 2023.
    • Seven major automakers (GM, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, and Stellantis) say they’re joining forces to build a North American EV charging network that would rival Tesla’s and nearly double the number of fast-charging plugs in the U.S. and Canada.
    • The companies wouldn’t disclose the exact number of charging stations or financial details of the joint venture they’re forming to put the network in place. While they said the first of the U.S. chargers will be ready by next summer, they would not say how long it will take to build the entire network.
  • General Motors confirms it will make Ultium battery packs at new plant in Ingersoll, Ontario – July 26, 2023.
    • The 400,000-square-foot facility, next to the CAMI assembly plant, will start making battery modules for GM’s BrightDrop Zevo vans and other Ultium-powered EVs in 2024.
    • The move to building battery module is aimed at significantly increasing GM’s EV production capacity. It will help bring in 300 new job opportunities at the plant.
  • NextStar Energy EV battery plant begins hiring spree – July 31, 2023.
    • The NextStar Energy battery plant announced Monday, July 31, it’s begun hiring workers for what will become one of the biggest electric vehicle battery plants in the world.
    • The plant hiring process is seeking 130 employees initially.
    • The expectations are the engineers and technicians will be ready to train the next intake of employees and will play a critical role in the start of production.
    • The Windsor plant will directly employ 2,500 workers once fully operational in 2025.
  • Jobs at NextStar will look little like traditional auto jobs – July 31, 2023.
    • The plant has begun its initial hiring phase for 130 positions; 30 professional staff in finances, human resources, and communications, and 100 engineers and technicians.
    • EV battery manufacturing jobs, like the ones at NextStar, are quite a bit different from the automotive jobs Windsor is used to.
    • Traditional assembly of the parts will be done by the equipment and the machines that the plant is bringing in.
    • The people on the production floor, their main job is to install the machine and set the parameters and to perform troubleshooting.
    • These individuals should have a comprehensive knowledge about the machines being used, from the perspective of hardware and software.
  • Convoy Technologies Inc. has finalized a lease for a new 18,000 square foot Canadian manufacturing facility located in Tecumseh – June 12, 2023.
    • Convoy manufactures cameras, monitors, and accessories to provide cloud-based telematics services and artificial intelligence-powered driver training systems for heavy-duty on- and off-road vehicles and power sports usage.
    • Windsor-Essex was chosen due to its proximity to the company’s Fort Wayne, IN distribution centre as well as the region’s labour force expertise in automotive manufacturing.
    • Most of the company’s research and development will be conducted in the new facility, which will be supported by the Windsor-Essex region’s post-secondary institutions and the collaboration opportunities and pipeline of talent available.
    • The new facility and operations are expected to create 50 new jobs for the region.
  • Biomass plant officially opens in Sarnia – June 29, 2023.
    • The Origin Materials plant is the first to make chloromethyl furfural, a chemical to make plastic and hydrothermal carbon.This new plant will supply industry with chemicals and materials which can be used in many products including clothing, textiles, plastics, packaging, car parts, tires, and fuels.

Education

  • The Windsor-Essex Catholic District Schoolboard (WECDSB) has developed new programming targeted at attracting students to the emerging EV sector to address potential future workforce shortages.
    • Students at St. Anne Catholic High School in Tecumseh will be able to work on building and maintaining an EV as part of this new programming.
    • The program involved the purchase of a SWITCH Electric Vehicle, which was announced on December 14, 2023. A news release for this even can be viewed here.
  • Post-Secondary Institutions to align with the skills gaps and needs across the automotive sector. This includes the new Electric Drive Vehicle Technician program at St. Clair College and the mechatronics engineering stream coming to the University of Windsor.

Employment

  • Goodwill Industries, an ES provider in Chatham-Kent, is exploring pathways for their clients to access training programs in EV-related careers, including in charging station installation.

Workforce Development

  • In meeting with the Chatham-Kent Workforce Planning Board, they indicated that businesses have been increasing their investments to prepare for the EV economy and that partners are working to showcase EV opportunities to students.

Invest WindsorEssex is hosting a series of workshops to examine best practices for manufacturing various components in an electric vehicle’s drivetrain. Each date offers different focuses for discussion and business development opportunities.

  • February 26 is tailored towards a general audience, that might include fleet operators, policy-makers, university researchers, or technology enthusiasts and everyone in between. This seminar is focused at a higher level and discussions will focus on the implications of EV manufacturing and general trends in the industry.
  • February 27 is tailored towards automation and integration companies. If you are focused on PLC design, machine vision, or automated production systems, you should attend on this day. Our discussions will focus more on opportunities to deploy automation and gaps plaguing the industry.
  • February 28 is tailored to mold/die manufacturing and CNC machining companies. Many traditional automotive suppliers that offer manufacturing and design services focused on high-precision and low-tolerance metal parts have a huge role to play in the EV industry, and are well tailored to participate in new supply chains. We will focus on some of these opportunities and focus discussions on creating value in this space for the seminar.
  • February 29 is tailored to companies focused on stamping, plastics, and 3-D printing. While many interior components may be similar between ICE and EVs, the electric drivetrain and its supporting components offer a lot of opportunities for these suppliers to innovate. The discussions will focus on new types of components required for EV’s and some of the industry trends and needs for integration of electronics and plastics.
  • More details at https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/exploring-opportunities-in-the-ev-supply-chain-tickets-807223215367

Automate Canada hosted the “Detailed Review of Battery Manufacturing” event on Thursday, October 26.

Invest WindsorEssex Emerging Technologies in Automation Conference & Trade Show will take place on Thursday, November 2, 2023.

  • Latest developments in automation for agri-business, automotive healthcare, mobility, and more.
  • Navigation and implementation of Industry 4.0.
  • New technologies for the mold, tool and die industry and advanced manufacturing.
  • Impact of Artificial Intelligence and big data management on future business practices.

Partnerships & Projects

  • Windsor-Essex based website, EVcareers.ca has officially launched as of November 15, 2023.
    • EVcareers is a first-of-its-kind electric vehicle (EV) worker registry website that aims to identify, network, and communicate with local and out of region talent interested in participating in Windsor-Essex’s EV Industry.
    • The website includes live job postings from the region’s EV sector, as well as EV job sector career profiles, education and training opportunities, and funding resources for individuals interested in working in Windsor-Essex’s EV sector.
    • This project was led and funded by Invest WindsorEssex, in partnership with Workforce WindsorEssex, WEtech Alliance, the University of Windsor, and St. Clair College.
    • The website can be accessed at www.evcareers.ca.
  • Workforce WindsorEssex has developed an EV Career Pathways resource, highlighting visual career pathways within the region’s EV sector.
    • The resource includes a brief overview of Windsor-Essex’s EV sector, including in-demand jobs and skills for EV workers. It contains visual career pathways, complemented by training and/or upskilling required to move from one job to another within the industry. The career pathways also highlight transferable skills for individuals currently employed in internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicle production roles and how they can transition to roles in the EV sector.
  • Workforce WindsorEssex has begun work to develop and publish a Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy for the EV sector in Windsor-Essex.
    • This project is funded by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development and is being led by Workforce WindsorEssex.
    • As a project deliverable, an EV Industry Support Committee has been formed, made up of local stakeholders representing Windsor-Essex’s EV sector, while also including Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, APMA representatives, transit, infrastructure and housing departments from the City of Windsor. These also include the WREN, Employment Ontario (EO) service providers, educational institutions, industry associations, employers, economic development organizations, government representatives, and other municipal leaders to address current and emerging EV workforce needs.
      • The EV Industry Support Committee continues to meet on a bimonthly basis into March 2024 to help support the development of aforementioned Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy.
      • Discussions from the first committee meeting highlighted current gaps in EV sector research and information, what can be done to address these gaps, content to be included in a final Talent Attraction and Retention Strategy, and examples of best practices of workforce development to look to for guidance.
      • Discussions from the second committee meeting included suggestions for initiatives/strategies the Windsor-Essex region should be engaging in to promote talent attraction and retention, the development of a Talent Attraction and Retention survey, and short-term training needs that are not currently being addressed by local post-secondary institutions, training service providers, or employers in the EV sector.
      • Discussions from the third committee meeting included a group review of the proposed outline for the EV Sector Talent Attraction and Retention Guide.
      • Discussions from the fourth committee meeting included a high level review of the EV Sector Talent Development, Attraction, and Retention Guide content.