Oshawa GM closure will have a 'minimal' effect on Windsor, says Laval president

A local businessman says the Oshawa GM plant closure won’t have much of an effect on Windsor.

'Windsor depends more on the border'

Jonathan Azzopardi is the president of Laval International. (Chris Ensing/CBC)

The president of a local tool and mould company believes the Oshawa GM plant closure won't have much of an effect on Windsor.

"The further you get from Oshawa, the less the impact will be," said Jonathon Azzopardi, president of Laval International.

"Windsor depends more on the border."

Azzopardi was on a trade mission in India when he heard the news — and his first thought was how the closure would affect the Windsor-Essex region.

"The bigger impact is the pie just got a little smaller," said Azzopardi. "That's what will hurt Windsor in the long run."

General Motors closed the Oshawa production plant along with four facilities in the U.S. as part of a global reorganization. (Michelle Siu/Canadian Press)

He chalks the closure up to "bad timing."

"The numbers said everything," said Azzopardi. "For the last ten years the production numbers had been dwindling."

Azzopardi said if Windsor doesn't learn from what happened in Oshawa, it might happen here too. 

"We need to sure up our strategies here in Canada," said Azzopardi. "We've been asking for a provincial strategy for a long time."

Provincial and federal auto strategies have been discussed for years. The NDPs and Canadian Auto Workers have pushed for strategy discussion with no headway.  

Once a plant is slated to close, Azzopardi said there's nothing that can be done to save it. He suggests all plants in the auto sector lineup need to diversify — and soon.

"They need to start talking now ... We need to have our eyes on the future."