Auto strategy at centre of Windsor policy conference

Key figures from academia, the business world, the labour community and various levels of government will gather in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday to talk about what an auto strategy should look like.

Non-partisan event brings together academics, business and labour leaders and politicians, too

A conference being held in Windsor this week will give those in attendance their chance to share ideas on how Canada and Ontario can shape an auto strategy that will attract and maintain investment in that sector. (M. Spencer Green/Associated Press)

Some key figures will be meeting in Windsor for a conference on Wednesday, so they can share their thoughts about what an auto strategy should look like at the provincial and federal level.

"This is business, labour and academia coming together," said Matt Marchand, the president of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, a day ahead of the Second Bi-Annual Policy & Solutions Forum.

Unifor National President Jerry Dias, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews and Ray Tanguay, a former Toyota executive who is advising the federal and Ontario governments on auto matters, are among those attending the forum.

Ray Tanguay will be attending the conference in Windsor. (Geoff Robins/Canadian Press)

Marchand told CBC News it is a non-partisan event that is intended to get people talking about how to attract and maintain auto investment in Windsor, in the province and more broadly, in Canada.

Peter Frise, a professor of automotive at the University of Windsor, will be attending the conference. He expects to hear a variety view points, including from the automakers.

No 'single answer'

"The auto industry is pretty big and complicated and I don't think there is a single answer that really does it for every company, unfortunately," Frise told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive on Tuesday.

"That means that in typical Canadian fashion, we have to spread the peanut butter a little thinner than we might like to. If we try to choose to only support this or that type of activity, we're probably going to wind up messing up something else, which would be very sad."

When the forum wraps up, Marchand said a summary will be put together about the ideas that were brought forward.

Tanguay is coming to Windsor to listen to others' ideas, as he gets set to put together a business plan for the governments in Ottawa and at Queen's Park.

"The panel will give me advice," he told CBC Radio's Afternoon Drive in an interview earlier this week.

The conference is being held at Windsor's Caboto Club. It will get underway on Wednesday morning.

Academics, along with business and labour leaders, have the chance to share their ideas at a conference in Windsor this week, about what an auto strategy should look like for Canada and Ontario. (David Richard/The Associated Press)

With files from the CBC's Tony Doucette and Aadel Haleem