The Big Read

Ford’s $1.8-billion gambit: The electric-vehicle revolution is coming to Oakville. What does that mean for auto workers?

This is the first in a three-part series taking a deeper look at the landmark deal to bring electric vehicle production to Ontario. In the second installment, we asked: how realistic are dreams of a domestic EV industry? In the third, industry executives and policy experts share their recommendations for getting Canada’s EV industry into gear.”

OAKVILLE, ONT. — For months before Ford Motors’ surprise announcement late last month of a $1.8-billion deal to build electric vehicles in its 67-year-old assembly plant in the Southern Ontario town of Oakville, there was a sense of unease and restlessness on the factory floor. 

Rumours of a closure or relocation were rife amongst workers. They were amplified by a slow trickle of media reports in which auto analysts speculated that Oakville was on life support. The Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus were apparently on the brink of being discontinued—a fact already known to senior members of Canada’s largest private-sector union, Unifor, which represents the auto workers—and the union did not expect new products to be assigned to the plant after 2023.

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