The Honourable Navdeep Bains, PC, MP
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
January 9, 2017
Check Against Delivery
Good morning, and thank you, Bill [Bill Easdale, Senior Vice President, Honda of Canada Mfg.], for that kind introduction.
It’s my pleasure to be here to announce an investment in well-paying middle-class jobs.
It’s the result of strong leadership from Tsutomu Morimoto, Jerry Chenkin and the rest of the Honda team.
For more than 30 years, Honda has been a source of well-paying jobs for thousands of workers in this region.
In the process, Honda employees have earned the company multiple awards for quality and product innovation.
Innovation is important at a time when companies can source their talent, goods and services from anywhere in the world.
In fact, when companies look to invest, they aren’t always looking for the lowest-cost jurisdictions.
Many companies seek the most innovative economies—the ones with the most creative and entrepreneurial people who can turn ideas into solutions.
That’s why companies such as Honda look to Ontario.
This is where technologies that will shape the car of the future are being developed.
These technologies will challenge today’s autoworkers to enhance their skill set and prepare for the jobs of tomorrow.
Those two ingredients for innovation—the most advanced technologies and a highly skilled workforce—will ensure that Canada’s auto sector remains globally competitive.
To keep the momentum going, it is my pleasure to announce today an investment of nearly $42 million in Honda of Canada Mfg.
This investment will maintain 4,000 jobs in Ontario.
It will support advanced manufacturing platforms and clean technologies.
And it will position Honda’s Alliston plants as global centres of innovation.
This investment will support the production of the next generation of Civics and CR-Vs.
It will also be used to establish a new state-of-the-art paint shop housed in an energy-efficient facility.
Most importantly, this investment will maintain Honda’s current production levels here in Alliston, which in turn will maintain the company’s significant contributions to the Canadian economy.
Today’s investment is being allocated through the Government of Canada’s Automotive Innovation Fund.
The Fund supports research and development projects for building greener, more fuel-efficient cars.
In Budget 2016, our government announced a three-year extension of the Fund.
I’m pleased to announce today that we are making changes to the Fund.
Our government will support select program funding recipients without the expectation of repayment.
This change, allowing the option of non-repayable funding, will free up automakers to invest in research and development activities that aim to shape the future of the industry.
The changes to the Fund will also enhance Canada’s ability to attract long-term investment in the sector.
Our government’s support for advanced-manufacturing platforms and clean technologies in the auto sector is a key part of our plan to drive economic growth through innovation.
That’s how we will create better jobs, better opportunities and better living standards for all Canadians.
I am confident that Canada’s auto sector is well positioned to design and produce the cars of the future.
I’m talking about cars that are made of lightweight materials and are therefore more fuel efficient and better for the environment.
I’m also talking about smart cars that are connected to the Internet.
Just last week, I was at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
There, I saw first-hand how the lines between cars and computers are blurring.
Cars are now embedded with more sensors and microchips than our smartphones.
They can even drive themselves.
And Canadian companies are at the centre of the action.
Ontario has launched Canada’s first pilot program to test self-driving cars.
The reason Ontario leads the pack is because of the expertise found in this region.
This province contains the largest technology region in North America outside Silicon Valley.
Ontario has expertise in all the enabling technologies needed to build self-driving cars.
They include cloud computing, digital displays, robotics, satellite technologies, security software and telecommunications.
Ladies and gentlemen: With today’s investment, our government is securing well-paying jobs for the middle class and those working hard to join it.
Our investment is a vote of confidence in the talents of the skilled Canadians who work in the sector.
It also reflects the confidence that partners, such as Honda, have in Canada.
Congratulations again to Mr. Morimoto, Mr. Chenkin and the rest of the Honda Canada family.
I look forward to seeing your innovations in the years to come.
Now, I would like to invite Minister Brad Duguid [Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth] to the podium to say a few words.