Canada has a new auto czar as of this week.
Introduced on June 9 by the federal and Ontario governments, Ray Tanguay — ex-chairman of Toyota’s Canadian operations — was appointed to chair the committee tasked with reviving the beleaguered auto sector.
As part of his mandate, Tanguay will advise both government and business on how to attract investment, create jobs and ensure a competitive edge in the global auto market, according to the ministry of economic development.
“Ontario’s auto sector is a cornerstone of our economy — a key source of our ability to export, innovate and create jobs,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario’s economic development minister. “In this highly competitive global economy, we need to drive further investment and ensure the sector remains strong.”
The move was lauded by organized labour, which has long sought a definitive automotive strategy to address growing concerns of lost opportunity and investment.
While the new committee is a step in the right direction, there is much more to do, said Jerry Dias, president of Unifor.
“We are encouraged that our provincial and federal governments are finally taking action on what experts in the auto industry, including Unifor, have been saying for years. Canada’s auto sector will only thrive with political leadership and co-ordinated and strategic investment, but today’s announcement can only be seen as the most preliminary of baby steps,” he said, adding that, “There is an urgent need for the federal and provincial governments to co-operate to develop and implement a consistent and successful national auto strategy.”
Dias also said representatives from labour and the auto-parts sector should have seats on the committee.
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