Poilievre Wants Inquiry If Windsor EV Battery Plant Will Actually Employ Canadians

Police in Windsor, Ontario, anticipate the arrival of approximately 1,600 South Korean workers for the upcoming electric-vehicle battery plant, a project praised by the federal government for its significant employment prospects for Canadians.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre expressed concern on Monday about the possibility of numerous jobs at the heavily subsidized NextStar factory going to temporary workers from Korea, potentially depriving Canadians of promised employment. Poilievre called for a “full inquiry” and urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to disclose the contract details with Stellantis NV and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd.

He emphasized the need for transparency in ensuring that the substantial subsidies, estimated to cost every Canadian $1,000, are directed toward Canadian workers rather than temporary foreign labor.

“If Justin Trudeau has nothing to hide, he will make these terms public,” Poilievre said. “They deserve to see what they’re paying for… Make the contract public and prove that every single dollar will go to Canadian paycheques, not to temporary foreign workers.”

Unions have drawn attention to a tweet from the Windsor Police Service, indicating discussions between South Korean diplomatic staff and the city about the factory. The NextStar plant, backed by up to $15 billion in federal and Ontario government subsidies, represents the largest investment in Canada’s auto sector. Expected to open next year, the plant aims to create 2,500 jobs in Windsor and surrounding areas.

However, concerns have arisen as a Korean company began recruiting in Windsor for positions at the factory. The federal employment department has already approved a temporary foreign worker for an administrative role, citing the inability to find a suitable Canadian candidate.

Sean Strickland, executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, stressed the importance of understanding the labor requirements before the situation becomes problematic. He emphasized the technical skills of Canadian workers and their suitability for roles at the factory.

Windsor NDP MP Brian Masse raised the issue in the House of Commons, seeking assurances that jobs at the subsidized plant would be unionized and given to local residents. Ontario Labour Minister David Piccini called for an explanation from the federal government on the use of South Korean temporary foreign workers.

Jeil, a Korean company with expertise in precision machinery transportation and a long-term partnership with LG, has established a Canadian corporation for the installation and assembly of NextStar. The federal employment department approved a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for an operations manager-administrative services role.

Samuelle Carbonneau, a spokesperson for Employment and Social Development Canada, clarified that this is the only LMIA in place for the EV battery plant. Irek Kusmierczyk, parliamentary secretary to Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault, stated that an LMIA is permitted only when Canadians or permanent residents are unable or unavailable for the job.

Kusmierczyk affirmed the creation of 2,500 full-time positions at the Windsor battery plant, with an additional 2,500 local tradespeople engaged. Danies Lee, CEO of NextStar Energy, acknowledged the need for specialized skills from abroad for equipment installation but emphasized the company’s commitment to hiring Canadians for over 2,500 full-time positions and engaging local tradespeople.

Harper trade agreement

On Tuesday, four Liberal ministers sought to alleviate tensions surrounding the issue by clarifying that the South Koreans are authorized to work in Canada under the labor mobility provisions outlined iunder a 2015 free trade agreement negotiated and implemented by Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government, which became effective shortly before Poilievre assumed the role of employment minister in 2015.

“We do have a free trade agreement with South Korea. And under Article 186 of that agreement, people do come and go on business visas, or visa-free, and they can stay if they are within the ambit of the reasons why they’re here,” Immigration Minister Marc Miller said. “If they’re not, the [Canada Border Services Agency] will investigate.”

Miller mentioned that to date, fewer than 100 individuals have entered Canada under these circumstances, and these workers have been involved in “training people up.”

“Not a single Canadian job has been paused or will be affected by this, but people do come and go as part of our free trade agreement with South Korea, just like Canadian businesses get the same benefit when they’re in South Korea,” Miller added.

This development comes after Stellantis announced in May a halt on the construction at its $5 billion battery manufacturing site in Windsor and is blaming the federal government for failing to meet funding commitments.

“The Canadian Government has not delivered on what was agreed to therefore Stellantis and LG Energy Solution will begin implementing their contingency plans,” the company said in a statement.

Construction on the plant began in 2022, and once completed, will create 2,500 jobs. The federal and provincial governments both agreed to fund the project, but stopped short of publicly unveiling the amount. However, according to Stellantis, the Liberal government hasn’t held up its end of the deal. The revelation comes after Trudeau and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland announced generous subsidies to the tune of $13.7 billion to Volkswagen for the future construction of an EV battery plant in St. Thomas.


Information for this briefing was found via The Globe And Mail and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

One thought on “Poilievre Wants Inquiry If Windsor EV Battery Plant Will Actually Employ Canadians

  • November 22, 2023 5:00 PM at 5:00 pm
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    His concern is whether or not the people who work there will be Canadian.

    Not if they get paid well, treated right, have job security… whether they’re Canadian.

    We’ve written extensively about how temporary foreign workers are some Nazi shit,

    https://thedeepdive.ca/is-chrystia-freeland-is-a-nazi/

    and if Pierre actually cared about working people, he’d be doing something about it instead of pretending.

    Reply

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