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Directions for Ottawa: Policy prescriptions for Canada’s electric-vehicle industry

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands in front of a Ford Mach-5 electric vehicle at the Ford Connectivity and Innovation Centre in Ottawa in October 2020.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stands in front of a Ford Mach-5 electric vehicle at the Ford Connectivity and Innovation Centre in Ottawa in October 2020. David Kawai/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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This is the third in a series taking a deeper look at the landmark deal to bring electric vehicle production to Ontario. In the first installment, we reported on what the deal means for auto workers. In the second, we examined what it will take to realize dreams of a domestic EV industry.

Ottawa wants a strong domestic electric-vehicle (EV) industry, and it’s prepared to spend for it. The federal government has pledged $295 million to Ford’s $1.8-billion overhaul of its Ontario facilities to produce cleaner cars, and is reportedly negotiating a subsidy for Fiat Chrysler, as well. 

But incentives aren’t the only thing Canada will need to compete for EV production, and opportunities extend beyond the Detroit Three: plenty of researchers, startups and long-established firms are creating technology and products in this space.

Here’s what some industry executives and policy experts think Ottawa can do to help Canada’s EV industry get into gear.

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