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Ontario aims to expand its leadership in vehicle electrification by continuing to attract key industrial investments that will build complete electric vehicle and battery supply chains in the region, according to a government official.
“Honestly, we all support electric vehicle production in Ontario,” Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, said in an interview.
According to Fedeli, the Ontario government has worked to bring C$13 billion ($10.36 billion) in investment to the province over the past 18 months, which has spurred an industrial transformation to support the growing electric vehicle industry.
The investments include a March 23 commitment by Stellantis and LG Energy Solutions to jointly build Canada’s first large-scale electric vehicle battery gigafactory in Windsor, Ontario, with production expected to begin in 2024.
“This is historic,” Fedeli said. “This is the largest auto investment in the history of our country. “
With recent and upcoming investments, Ontario now has a development proposal that spans the Electric Vehicle value chain from end to end.
“We’ve covered OEMs, we’ve got battery plant investments [Stellantis-LGES], green steel investments [ArcelorMittal Dofasco], and we’ve put millions of dollars into a program called the Ontario Vehicle Modernization Program. “
O-AMP is a partnership to support auto parts manufacturers that are transforming their businesses to supply electric vehicles. Fedeli added that the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network is also funded by provincial leadership to encourage the manufacture of connected and autonomous vehicles.
According to Fedeli, further investments in Ontario are expected in the near term.
“We will continue to work hard for a second battery factory,” he said. “In addition to the second battery factory, we still have many announcements about Electric Vehicle manufacturing in the coming days and weeks.”
Fedeli said Ontario has launched a critical minerals strategy to increase the province’s mineral extraction, refining and cathode production capacity to power a booming domestic electric vehicle and battery industry.
Ontario developing complete electric vehicle and battery supply chain. Why Canada?
“Canada is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that has all the raw materials,” Fedeli said. “And we know Ontario has everything we need here.”
The Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario is a major key mineral sourcing focus area with the potential to produce cobalt, nickel, copper, platinum and palladium. Most of the province’s critical minerals strategy targets the region, Fedeli said.
“We’re going to work to expedite mining licenses and mining and processing of minerals throughout northern Ontario,” Fedeli said. “We also want value [capacity], so in northern Ontario, we’re going to be aggressively pushing the production of precursors and cathodes, But anyway, it all starts with minerals.”
Ontario is already North America’s leading nickel producer, according to Fedeli, and the province has the continent’s only cobalt refinery (now owned by Electra Battery Materials, scheduled to resume operations later this year).
Fedeli said Ontario’s push to build an electric vehicle industry under Premier Doug Ford through the Driving Prosperity Initiative and other policy initiatives represents a “significant shift” in the province’s auto industry.
“Where we were four years ago, the auto industry fell sharply,” he said. “We lost 300,000 jobs in Ontario under the last [provincial] government, and when [our government] took office, Governor Doug Ford said we needed to reduce the cost of doing business.”
Under the current government, Ontario has lowered job insurance premiums, provided capital cost subsidies, enacted “red tape” reduction legislation, and lowered business energy costs and property tax rates, Federley said.
Ontario’s policy has since attracted new investment in electric vehicle manufacturing from automakers in the region, including Honda, Ford and General Motors, he added.
“Our job is to make sure the electric cars we buy are made in Ontario,” Fedeli said. “For auto OEMs, batteries, auto parts, critical minerals and green steel technology, we’ve invested taxes in each of these areas.”
“We need to invest across the supply chain because that’s where the jobs are and that’s what drives prosperity.”
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