Canada had to jump on ‘generational opportunity’
Canada’s decision to invest in battery plants and tilt its focus towards the electric-vehicle industry during the past few years was required to prevent a “decline” in the country’s lucrative auto sector, says Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.
“I don’t know if it was by choice or by design, but when I entered the role of industry minister, some were even looking at the demise of the auto sector in Canada,” he said while speaking at the Toronto Global Forum on Oct. 11. Champagne said Canada would have seen a “decline” in the auto sector, which supports about 500,000 people, if it hadn’t taken advantage of this “generational opportunity.”
In 2023, Canadian governments signed agreements with battery and car makers such as Stellantis NV, LG Energy Solution Ltd., Volkswagen AG and Northvolt AB to build three battery plants in Canada, with governments offering the companies performance incentives worth billions of dollars in an effort to match incentives provided by the United States.
Champagne said he initially had doubts about whether so many companies would be interested in building such factories in Canada. “When we started the journey, I was not sure at all that we would even have one giga factory in Canada, let alone three of them,” he said.
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