OAKVILLE, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - The Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, today announced important funding that will transform the Ford Motor Company of Canada's Oakville Assembly plant into a state-of-the-art global manufacturing facility, making it one of Ford's most sophisticated plants in the world.

Minister Moore made the announcement at the Oakville plant, accompanied by the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Transport, and Terence Young, Member of Parliament for Oakville.

"Canada's auto sector is a world leader, employing hundreds of thousands of Canadians and contributing 12 percent of our total exports worldwide," said Minister Moore. "Our government is committed to strengthening our economy while creating and keeping high-quality jobs here in Canada. This contribution will ensure that Ford's Oakville plant will be able to compete with any manufacturer at any plant in the world."

"Canada is one of the best countries in the world to build automobiles," said Mr. Young. "We are thrilled that Ford continues to invest significantly in Canadian jobs by building its new manufacturing lines here in Ontario. This is great news for Oakville and all Canadians."

"Ford's investment demonstrates Canada can be competitive in the global market through strategic partnerships," said Dianne Craig, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company of Canada. "Working closely with government and labour, we have secured a bright future for our employees at Oakville Assembly."

The Harper Government is committing up to $71.6 million to Ford Motor Company of Canada for Project Northern Star through the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF), a $250-million, five-year program that supports the development of Canada's auto sector. Ford is the first recipient of the renewed AIF, announced by the Prime Minister in January at this same plant.

Project Northern Star will strengthen research and development at Ford, transform its Oakville Assembly plant by installing a global platform, and keep Canada's automotive sector innovative and globally competitive.

It is expected the AIF will generate up to $2.3 billion in private sector investment, including Project Northern Star.


Ford Motor Company of Canada

Project Northern Star

The Harper Government is committed to fostering the research and development (R&D) necessary to keep Canada's automotive manufacturing sector innovative and globally competitive.

In keeping with this goal, Prime Minister Harper announced the renewal of the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF) on January 4, 2013, confirming the government's ongoing and long-term commitment to working with this innovative industry in creating jobs, growth and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Industry, announced the first federal contribution under the renewed AIF of up to $71.6 million to Ford Motor Company of Canada (FMCC) for Project Northern Star.

The auto industry is a key driver of Canada's economy and one of the largest manufacturing sectors. It contributes $16.1 billion in GDP, which represented 10 percent of total manufacturing GDP in 2012. According to FMCC, it employs about 6,000 Canadians across the country, while an additional 18,000 people are employed through Ford and Ford Lincoln dealerships.

Project Northern Star

FMCC is investing up to $1.1 billion over 10 years in two phases to implement a global platform at its Oakville Assembly plant and an expansion of its R&D investment in Canada.

The Harper Government is providing $71.6 million towards an investment of up to $716 million by FMCC for the first phase of Project Northern Star. The Government of Ontario is providing an investment of up to $70.9 million.


This investment will help secure the future of the Oakville Assembly plant by installing a new flexible global platform that will transform FMCC's Oakville plant into a state-of-the-art global manufacturing facility. The project will also see an investment of up to $51 million in new Canadian-based R&D.

As an investment in flexible manufacturing processes and technology, it promotes innovation and competitiveness. This will allow Ford to quickly adjust to changing market conditions, innovate and be more efficient and competitive.

This project will enable Ford to expand its export capabilities by manufacturing vehicles destined for offshore markets.

Project Northern Star also further supports Canada's environmental agenda by helping FMCC reduce its overall energy consumption. The Project also includes an R&D investment that will advance the government's science and technology agenda, leading to improvements in fuel consumption and emissions. The R&D considered for this project will build Canadian automotive R&D capacity in areas that will be critical to all original equipment manufacturers as they endeavour to meet new fuel efficiency standards.

The Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF)

On January 4, 2013, Prime Minister Harper announced the renewal of the AIF, providing $250 million over five years (2013–2018) to automotive companies in Canada in support of strategic, large-scale R&D projects. This support builds on the initial commitment of $250 million over five years in Budget 2008.

The Government of Canada will consider investment proposals valued at more than $75 million. Each proposal for AIF support will be subject to a comprehensive review process to assess the project's feasibility and risk, as well as its ability to deliver the proposed innovation, technical, environmental and economic benefits.

The AIF aims to:

  • build automotive R&D capacity in Canada and secure high-value jobs;
  • enhance the government's science and technology and environmental agendas;
  • support the development, implementation and commercialization of advanced and green technologies and advanced products or processes;
  • promote long-term economic benefits to Canada including significant job creation/retention; and
  • serve as a catalyst for further private sector investments to foster Canadian competitiveness.

The AIF supports:

  • leading-edge engineering, design and prototype development;
  • new product development, including advanced emissions technologies, energy-efficient engines and transmissions, and advanced materials such as engineered plastics and lightweight components and materials;
  • advanced product testing with a view to ensuring cleaner, more efficient automotive performance and reducing greenhouse gases;
  • the development of new production methods and process technologies, including advanced flexible manufacturing techniques;
  • new/expanded facilities to produce leading-edge, energy-efficient vehicles and powertrains; and
  • the introduction of other transformative new production technologies to substantially increase productivity and efficiency (e.g. robotics and advanced IT systems).

To date, the AIF has provided repayable contributions to four companies, including up to:

  • $80 million towards an investment of up to $730 million by Ford Motor Company of Canada to establish a flexible engine assembly plant and create an advanced powertrain research centre in Windsor, Ontario;
  • $54.8 million towards an investment of up to $365 million by Linamar Corporation to develop and commercialize advanced components and modules in three product areas: transmissions, engines and drivelines;
  • $70.8 million towards an investment of up to $506 million by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. to maximize production efficiency, reduce emissions and upgrade equipment to permit the production of more fuel-efficient vehicles including electric vehicles;
  • $21.7 million towards an investment of up to $199 million by Magna International to develop energy-efficient components for vehicles and innovative powertrain components for next-generation vehicles; and
  • $16.875 million towards an investment of up to $120 million by Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. to increase production of the Lexus RX350 mid-size luxury SUV and to initiate the production of the Lexus RX450h hybrid in Cambridge, Ontario.

Including Project Northern Star, AIF contributions will leverage up to $2.3 billion in private sector R&D and innovation investments in Canada's automotive sector and are contributing towards:

  • economic activity and employment in the assembly and supplier ecosystem and the broader economy;
  • the development and commercialization of new products including advanced materials and emissions technologies (including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions);
  • advanced and expanded flexible manufacturing processes and facilities; and
  • enhanced R&D capacity.

Other Support to the Automotive Sector

The AIF continues to be part of the Government of Canada's broader approach to create the right economic conditions that support a strong Canadian auto industry including a highly skilled and productive workforce.

The Government of Canada's approach also includes a fiscal and economic framework that will keep the industry competitive, including:

  • a sound banking system;
  • the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7;
  • the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7;
  • a triple-A credit rating;
  • support for an integrated North American automotive assembly and supplier ecosystem such as the Windsor–Detroit Bridge; and
  • investments in automotive R&D, including Automotive Partnership Canada and AUTO21.

Additionally, in 2009, the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario provided unprecedented support to General Motors and Chrysler to protect the auto sector, a key economic driver of the Canadian economy.

Contact Information:

Sebastien Gariepy
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable James Moore
Minister of Industry

Media Relations
Industry Canada