Ontario supporting laid-off automotive industry workers

Union-run action centre to help over 3,500 workers find new employment

Ontario supporting laid-off automotive industry workers

Ontario is investing $955,000 to help laid-off automotive industry workers find their footing and a new employment.

The investment will go to a new action centre that will support 3,752 laid-off workers from various individual parts suppliers in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

“We stand with the workers and families that are impacted by these layoffs,” says David Piccini, minister of labour, immigration, training and skills development. “Ontario’s automotive industry is the engine that drives our economy, and we’re making sure no worker is left behind as the industry transitions into the future. The new Unifor Windsor-Chatham action centre will help workers get back on their feet quickly and get the services and training they need to be successful in their next job.”

Previously, numerous stakeholders called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeua to ensure job security for Canadian auto workers following a major investment by Honda in the county. The $15-billion EV project is expected to create 1,000 new jobs in addition to the 4,200 already existing at the plant, which will be retooled. It will also include two other plants “elsewhere in Ontario” that will produce cathodes and separators.

Training opportunities available to laid-off auto workers

Run by Unifor, Ontario’s action centre will provide support services for workers represented by Unifor Locals 195, 127 and 1941.

The action centre will help laid-off workers by hosting workshops and seminars, providing peer-to-peer support, networking opportunities and job search assistance, along with access to mental health services. 

Unifor will also be collaborating with the Employment Ontario Service System Manager and other community service providers to prepare workers for upcoming jobs in the electric vehicle sector and other growing industries.

"Opening this Action Centre will provide Unifor members working in the independent parts supplier sector the best opportunity to access training and find new work, in a peer-supported environment,” says Lana Payne, Unifor national president. “The EV transition continues to impact workers in the supply base and services like this are an important step in ensuring workers do not get left behind.”

The action centre is located at 3400 Somme Avenue, Windsor, Ontario, N8W 1V4. A secondary service location is at 405 Riverview Drive, Chatham, Ontario, N7M 0N3.

The action centre is expected to operate until April 2025.

There were nearly 6,900 jobs recently going unfilled in the Windsor-Sarnia region, according to the Ontario government.

In November 2023, Canadian workers’ unions criticized NextStar Energy over its plans to bring 900 foreign workers to Canada to do work that local workers can do. The company confirmed its plan to hire about 1,600 technicians from outside suppliers to assemble, install and test equipment at its EV battery plant in Windsor, Ont. These workers would include up to 900 "temporary specialized global supplier staff," mainly from South Korea.

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