Windsor

Ontario government launches $10M automotive sector modernization program

Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli used Monday's annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Moldmakers in Windsor to announce the launch of a $10 million program aimed at modernizing the province's automotive industry.

Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli made the announcement in Windsor, Ont.

Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli was in Windsor to announce the launch of a $10 million automotive sector modernization program. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Ontario Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli used Monday's annual meeting of the Canadian Association of Moldmakers in Windsor to announce the launch of a $10 million program aimed at modernizing the province's automotive industry.

Dubbed the Ontario Automotive Modernization Program (O-AMP), funding will be distributed over three years across the entire province's automotive sector. 

"It is to assist companies in advanced technology for lean manufacturing, and it's an opportunity for small- and medium-sized businesses to be able to expand and to look at the automotive sector of the future," said Fedeli. 

"We've been involved with electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles, advanced manufacturing, right across Ontario, and sometimes these small- and medium-sized companies just need a little bit of an edge to help them take that step into the technology field."

The O-AMP is part of the Progressive Conservative government's Driving Prosperity program — a 10-year vision for "how industry, the research and education sector, and all three levels of government, can work together to strengthen the auto sector's competitiveness," according to a Monday Ontario government media release.

The provincial government's new program will cover up to 50 per cent of eligible product costs up to $100,000. 

'More jobs for the long-term'

Jonathan Azzopardi, president of Laval International and chairman of the Canadian Association of Moldmakers, described O-AMP funding as the perfect fit for almost any company involved in the automotive supply chain.

"If you're making parts, if you're doing engineering, if you're making molds, if you supply to the automotive industry, this fund is for you," he said. 

"The automotive industries are under a tremendous amount of stress to compete and this fund will actually give us the opportunity to be able to do that with new technology."

Jonathan Azzopardia, president of Laval International and chairman of the Canadian Association of Moldmakers, says the government's latest program will help companies adopt the latest technology. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

According to Azzopardi, companies that secure O-AMP funding will be able to modernize equipment for "new technology adoption," including new machinery and new software. 

"Adoption is bringing current technology to market, so that our manufacturers can use it to create new opportunities," Azzopardi said. 

Azzopardi described the $10 million pool as a "good start," though he said the numbers aren't important at this moment. 

"I think what's really important is there will be … more jobs for the long-term," he said. 

Though unrelated to the Ontario government's province-wide O-AMP fund, Canada's Liberal government announced last Friday investment of up to $5 million to create an "automobility innovation cluster" in Windsor-Essex.

Much like the provincial government's goal, the federal government said it wanted to help the region "transition from reliance on traditional automotive manufacturing by leveraging new opportunity in next-generation mobility innovations, smart technologies and automation."

With files from Dale Molnar

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