A third shift is being added to Ford Canada's Oakville assembly plant, which the company says will create 300 jobs.

Those jobs will be offered first to those who were laid off by the motor company.

The company says high consumer demand for vehicles built at the plant has made a third shift necessary at its body, paint and pre-trim department.

There are still about 220 employees on layoff from the closure of the company's St. Thomas assembly plant, which closed in September 2011, who will get first priority.

Ford says it expects the third shift to start in the first quarter of next year.

The addition of the third shift was part of a recent deal with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

Ford has about 800 employees on layoff. It agreed in negotiations to investments that could create about 600 new jobs its assembly complex in Oakville, Ont. A new product will add more than 300 positions.