The future of the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant in Oakville, Ontario, Canada is very much up in the air at the moment. Canadian union Unifor selected Ford as its pattern agreement target in ongoing labor negotiations because it feels like the Oakville plant, where the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus are produced, is its most pressing issue. As Ford Authority recently reported, Nautilus production will end at the plant in July 2024, while the next-gen Edge, also produced in Oakville, has reportedly been cancelled. It’s also possible that the production of these models will shift to China.
Regardless, as we reported last week, incoming Ford CEO Jim Farley noted that the negotiations with Unifor were “going great,” so there is certainly reason for optimism. And now, according to Canadian news site The Star, it appears that government officials are also willing to lend a hand, financially speaking, to ensure that the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant sticks around.
Specifically, Ottawa officials have reportedly told Ford that they’re willing to invest up to $500 million in electric vehicle production at the Oakville plant. Ottawa has made it clear that it’s willing to “do what it takes” to bring electric vehicle production to Ontario, and expects its funding to be part of a much larger $2 billion investment for a new mandate at the Ford Oakville Assembly Plant.
The exact amount of the initial investment is currently being negotiated, but the report notes that the subject of retooling the plant for electric vehicle and battery production is a key component of the ongoing labor negotiations. That process is expected to begin as soon as next year, and would help ensure that the plant’s 4,000 or so employees could keep their jobs for the foreseeable future.
“The choice to dedicate the Oakville Assembly Plant to the production of battery electric vehicles shows alignment between Ford’s commercial priorities and Canada’s commitment to sustainable growth,” said Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains. “It also reflects our productive dialogue in recent months, built on top of an enduring partnership.”