Ottawa's $200M not enough to aid manufacturing: Pupatello

A new federal fund for manufacturers will help, but not heal, southern Ontario's economy says the head of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.

Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation wants to see regionally targeting help from government

Sandra Pupatello says even if the money available in the advanced manufacturing fund were dedicated entirely to Windsor-Essex alone, it wouldn't be enough to bring back all the lost jobs. (Canadian Press)

A new federal fund for manufacturers will help, but not heal, southern Ontario's economy says the head of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation.

Sandra Pupatello says the recently announced $200-million advanced manufacturing fund is a useful tool for companies to upgrade, expand, and hopefully hire more employees.

She believes the provincial and federal government should focus on the Windsor region more closely given the recent job losses, including 740 at the Leamington Heinz plant.

"One-industry towns are really at a higher risk when this is the environment we live in, simply because there are other regions, like the Greater Toronto Area. They have a greater capacity to absorb this size of a loss," Pupatello said.

Pupatello says even if the money available in the advanced manufacturing fund were dedicated entirely to Windsor-Essex alone, it wouldn't be enough to bring back all the lost jobs.

"That still would likely not recoup what it is that we have lost since the recession.  So we need to put it into perspective about how many companies from our region will be able to access that fund," Pupatello said.

About 100 jobs were lost in Tilbury when Worthington Cylinders closed in early November. On Tuesday, Kellogg in London abruptly plugged, the plug putting another 500 people out of work.

Pupatello says given the recent closures, money is only part of the solution.

"Most of the job growth that happens in Ontario does happen from companies that are already here.  So this kind of fund assisting businesses is great," she said.

The former president of the CAW, now known as Unifor, says the lack of a federal policy protecting jobs is why companies are shutting down factories.

Ken Lewenza says the fight should be about protecting jobs and communities.

"The corporate community and government is putting a job on workers. The next generation of workers aren't going to the save opportunities we do. We're going to have to, quite frankly, fight back and defend the interest of good-paying jobs," Lewenza said.

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