Liberals vague on Canadian worker guarantees in latest EV investment   
Liberals announce another EV investment, but remain evasive about how many jobs created will go towards foreign workers.

Mike Campbell

May 14, 2024

The federal liberals have announced another massive investment into an EV battery separator plant in Port Colborne, Ontario, but remained vague about how many of the jobs will be filled by Canadian workers.

Liberals vague on Canadian worker guarantees in latest EV investment   

This comes against the backdrop of ongoing union discontent in Windsor, Ontario, where it was recently discovered that  Stellantis and LG’s NextStar EV Battery Plant would fill over 2,000 jobs with foreign workers. 

Tuesday’s announcement by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford emphasized Canada’s ambition to position itself as a leader in the global EV market, with a $1.6 billion investment from Asahi Kasei Corporation to build Canada’s first lithium ion separator plant, where batteries for electric cars will be built.

Yet, specific details about direct job allocations for Canadians remain unclear: “Details regarding direct jobs created by this investment are currently being finalized and will be announced at a later date,” a statement from the PMO reads. 

Minister François-Philippe Champagne also danced around the issue after a reporter asked him what contractual guarantees for Canadian workers the partnership with the Japanese-based company will produce.

“We made sure that we would build the full value chain in the country and making sure that we would maximize the impact for suppliers but also for Canadian workers in fact,” Champagne said.

Union says jobs being given to foreign workers

Canada’s Building Trades Unions openly pleaded with the federal government last month for help, lamenting over their partnership with Stellantis and LG for the Windsor EV plant that’s seen jobs go to foreign workers.

The Liberals originally said their billion dollar investment of Canadian tax dollars would be a boon for Canadian workers, but later learned that NextStar planned to hire 1,600 foreign technicians.

“One hundred and eighty local skilled trades workers in the EssexKent region – Millwrights and Ironworkers – are unemployed and available to perform this work. In fact, Canadian workers are now being replaced by international workers at an increasing pace, on work that was previously assigned to Canadian workers,” their statement read.

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