Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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Ontario launches job site challenge to identify land for future manufacturing plants


November 28, 2019
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION

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The government of Ontario is launching a province-wide Job Site Challenge to identify large sites of land where automakers or other advanced manufacturers could invest by building a large plant.

“One of the biggest barriers that automakers face if they want to build or expand an auto assembly plant is availability of large-scale sites,” says Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.

Fedeli and several government officials made the announcement Nov. 28 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (West Plant) in Woodstock. The Toyota plant in Woodstock, which opened in 2008, is the newest auto plant in Ontario.

The challenge, which the province bills a Canadian first, invites municipalities, economic development agencies and industrial property owners to propose mega sites — large tracts of land between 500 to 1,500 acres that are already zoned, or could be, for heavy industrial use. These sites should be serviced or serviceable by utilities, transportation networks and other support infrastructure.

“The Job Site Challenge will build on our investment strategy, help us compete with other North American jurisdictions for large-scale manufacturing investments and market Ontario as a competitive place to do business,” says Prabmeet Sarkaria, associate minister of small business and red tape reduction.

The program is modelled on similar ones that have helped several U.S. jurisdictions, like New York, Tennessee, Alabama and other states, to attract large-scale investments to build auto or other advanced-manufacturing plants.

Potential mega sites will be evaluated based on 13 criteria. An internationally recognized site selector will endorse and validate sites for inclusion in the inventory of certified mega sites. The province and the site selector will then lead a marketing campaign to showcase these selected sites to international and domestic investors.

Proposals will be accepted between January 1 and March 31, 2020.

The first shovel-ready sites are expected to be made available to investors in fall 2020.