At the end of August, the Region welcomed the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), to our headquarters for an announcement of a $300,000 investment to fund an Electric Vehicle (EV) Specialist position. As Chair of the Planning and Economic Development Committee, I was honoured to attend and support the event along with a number regional colleagues and our federal representatives MP Vance Badawey and MP Chris Bittle. 

The Region was not alone in securing funding relating to the EV sector during the Minister’s visit. London, Ontario, also received funds to establish partnerships for attracting investments from European suppliers to support a global supply chain for battery manufacturing sector. Windsor, Ontario, similarly received funding to advance business and relationship development within the EV market, but also funding for training programs to support talent development and workforce training in the EV manufacturing.  

And while a $300,000 investment may seem nominal, the investment itself has a larger and more significant role to Niagara’s overall economy. With this investment, Niagara will join both London and Windsor in providing dedicated staff focused on accelerating the growth of the EV sector across Southern Ontario. The funds will also support over 50 regional businesses and organizations in facilitating growth of the sector locally. While Niagara’s dedicated EV Specialist is currently being recruited, London and Windsor have had this resource in place for several years and are reaping the benefits.  

Last year, Stellantis announced its intention to build a $5-billion dollar battery plant in Windsor, and although it encountered a few hiccups along the way, construction is moving forward as well as recruitment for their initial staffing needs. The site has a potential workforce of 2500. Similarly, Volkswagen made a similar announcement this year in St. Thomas for construction North America’s first ever cell factory and potentially the largest across the continent. The St. Thomas Gigafactory has the potential to create up to 3,000 new, highly qualified jobs.  

What does this mean for Niagara? With a new dedicated staff resource focused on a burgeoning sector gaining significant traction across Southern Ontario, Niagara has the potential to tap into a growing EV supply chain market that is attracting significant investment from both the private and public sector. It’s a tremendous opportunity to breathe new life into our manufacturing sector, create jobs and attain economic growth for the Region. The federal investment is a strong indicator that Niagara has a direct role to play in this sector.  I’m excited how we capitalize on this exciting opportunity for the Region.

More information:

Government of Canada – News Release

Niagara Region – Canada Backs EV Sector in Niagara Region