Ford Canada President and CEO Dianne Craig was in Sault Ste. Marie late last week, discussing the regional company’s past restructuring efforts in the wake of the economic collapse of 2000s.
“There was 120,000 employees around the globe that lost their jobs when we went through our restructuring, 57,000 in North America. When you go through that kind of pain, cutting, terrible time you need to make sure it’s all worth while in the end,” said Craig.
Ford Canada saw two of its own plants close in the process. Worldwide, the number of closures was 28. Since then, Ford’s Essex plant has reopened, today reflecting a “really strong” industry in Canada overall.
The Ford Canada CEO went on to talk about why free-trade agreements matter, and to reiterate her concerns regarding the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). “In 2012 we had a $700-million investment in the Oakville assembly plant. Now we have 5,200 people working out of that plant. It’s 2,200 more than was working there three years ago,” said Ms. Craig. “It’s not just the paradigm there used to be between the U.S. and Canada — and in some cases Mexico — it’s building vehicles for around the world.”
The Ford Canada CEO is most concerned with the stipulated 5-year tariff phase-out period for Canada’s automotive exports, versus a 30-year phase-out for the US. “Getting trade agreements right matters, because it attracts auto investments and ultimately to make sure we can export outside of Canada,” said Craig.