The federal government and Ontario have pledged to spend up to $500 million to make the Ford plant in Oakville, Ont., able to build electric vehicles.
The future of the plant has been a key question for Canada’s automotive industry ever since the Unifor union started negotiating with the automaker for a new three-year pact to cover the company’s Canadian workforce.
The two sides struck a deal a few hours after a midnight strike deadline on Tuesday morning, one that will see the company commit $1.98 billion to build five new electric vehicles and an engine contract that could yield new jobs in Windsor, Ont.
Ford has previously committed to spending $11 billion US to develop and manufacture electric vehicles, but so far all of that money was earmarked for Ford plants in Mexico and the company’s home state of Michigan.
“With Oakville gaining such a substantial portion of Ford’s planned investment, the assembly plant and its workers are better set for employment going forward,” said Sam Fiorani, vice-president of global forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.
Currently, the plant builds the Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus, but concerns over the plant’s future emerged earlier this year when a report suggested Ford was contemplating scrapping the Edge altogether. The new vehicles will come as welcome news for the plant, even as Fiorani says he worries that demand for the electric vehicles (EV) has so far not lived up to the hype.
“The EV market is coming, and Ford looks to be preparing for it. However, the demand is just not growing in line with the proposed investment from all vehicle manufacturers,” he said.
Plant needs upgrade first
And the plant can’t simply flip a switch and start building an entirely new type of vehicle. It will require a major retooling, and that will require time — and cash — to happen, which is where government cash comes in.
As first reported by the Toronto Star, the two branches of government have committed to spent up to $500 million combined to upgrade the plant so that it can build electric vehicles.
“The retooling will begin in 2024 with vehicles rolling off the line in 2025,” Unifor president Jerry Dias said. “So we know this is a decades-long commitment.”
It’s not clear what portion of the cash will come from what branch of government, but CBC News has previously reported that Wednesday’s throne speech is expected to contain a number of policies aimed at beefing up Canada’s electric vehicle industry, both on the consumer side and for businesses that build them.
Ontario’s minister of economic development and trade welcomed the news of a tentative deal on Tuesday and confirmed that Queen’s Park legislators stand ready to do their part.
“Our government will always work with our federal colleagues, workers and the auto sector to ensure the right conditions are in place for the industry to remain stable today and seize the new opportunities of tomorrow,” a spokesperson for Vic Fedeli told CBC News in an emailed statement Tuesday.
Kuwait-born CEO breaks glass ceiling to lift ailing Laurentian Bank – BNN
Rania Llewellyn broke the glass ceiling as the first woman to lead one of Canada’s eight largest banks. Her challenge at Laurentian Bank of Canada is to revive a lender that may need capital and has struggled for years to find growth.
Llewellyn, who was named Laurentian’s chief executive officer Tuesday, comes with an unusual biography for a Canadian bank chief. Born in Kuwait, she moved to Canada as a teenager from Egypt, where her father is from, and earned a master’s degree in business administration from St. Mary’s University, a small public college in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
She joined Bank of Nova Scotia as a part-time teller and began a 26-year climb that included a stint as CEO of Roynat Capital, a unit of the bank that finances medium-sized businesses. Before jumping to Laurentian, she’d been promoted to executive vice president in charge of Scotiabank’s global payments strategy.
Canadian banks rarely hire external candidates for the top job. Montreal-based Laurentian has unique problems, though. Llewellyn, 44, will need to shore up the bank’s capital position, which is the weaker than that of the country’s largest banks, while trying to undo the damage from the company’s prior missteps, including a problem with mortgage fraud.
The bank’s results have trailed analysts’ estimates in eight of the past 11 quarters, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Among the major moves she may make include raising new equity and divesting non-core assets like the Northpoint commercial-finance business, according to analysts. No matter what she does, it will require bold action to revive Laurentian’s shares, which have dropped 49 per cent over the past five years, compared to a 12 per cent gain for the S&P/TSX Commercial Banks Index.
“An external hire brings more potential for change, which is good,” Gabriel Dechaine, an analyst at National Bank of Canada, said in a note. “A new CEO will have more flexibility to take dramatic action to put the bank on more solid footing during the current downturn and into the future.”
Laurentian shares rose as much as 1.2 per cent after Llewellyn’s hiring was announced and closed up 0.2 per cent to CUS$26.36 in Toronto. The stock had fallen 41 per cent this year through Monday.
“Rania Llewellyn is the right leader to usher in a new era at Laurentian Bank. She has a proven track record as an energetic, strategic thinker focused on customer experience and tangible results,” Michelle Savoy, the Laurentian director who led the search committee, said in a statement.
Llewellyn fills the gap left by Francois Desjardins, who stepped down in June after a five-year tenure that included an incomplete transformation plan and other woes. In 2017, the bank found customer misrepresentations on some mortgages that it sold to another firm. Laurentian said it would buy back CUS$180 million (US$137 million) in mortgages sold to the firm.
Laurentian also took a hit in May, when it slashed its dividend 40 per cent, the first payout cut by a large Canadian lender in almost three decades, and posted fiscal second-quarter earnings that missed analysts’ estimates because of higher provisions for loan losses.
While the bank increased a key measure of its capital known as common equity tier 1 to 9.4 per cent at the end of its third quarter, that level is still “far from ‘fortress-like,’” National Bank’s Dechaine said, adding that the situation makes an equity raise possible.
The hiring of Llewellyn, who will also join Laurentian’s board, comes a little more than a month after Jane Fraser was named CEO of Citigroup Inc., which will make her the first female head of a big Wall Street bank.
While women have held some high-profile positions in Canada’s banking industry, Llewellyn will be the first female CEO of a major domestic bank. London-based HSBC Holdings Plc’s Canadian operations are run by Linda Seymour. She succeeded Sandra Stuart, who ran the operation for five years until her retirement. And Gillian Riley serves as CEO of Tangerine, Scotiabank’s online division.
Llewellyn’s appointment also is notable because Canadian banks typically choose CEOs from inside their firms.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce entertained the idea of external candidates in its CEO search in 2014 before choosing internal candidate Victor Dodig. The last time Royal Bank of Canada went outside the firm for a top executive was in 1908.
Llewellyn also isn’t a native French speaker — a disadvantage for the head of a firm headquartered in Montreal — but has committed to learning the language, according to a note from RBC analyst Darko Mihelic.
COVID-19 outbreak declared at school in East St. Paul – CTV News Winnipeg
COVID-19 outbreak declared at school in East St. Paul
A school just outside of Winnipeg has declared an outbreak of COVID-19, according to the Manitoba government’s most recent bulletin.
Bird’s Hill School, located at 3950 Raleigh St. in East St. Paul, has declared an outbreak of COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The school is moving to the orange or restricted level on the province’s pandemic response system.
In a statement sent Tuesday afternoon, the River East Transcona School Division confirmed there were five cases in the school within two classrooms. The two classrooms are in the grade 2/3 levels, the division said.
The school is also taking steps to deal with the new restrictions.
“We are moving furniture to ensure the two-metre distancing is done. Deep cleaning has been done to the affected classrooms and commonly touched surfaces and staff are ensuring that students follow protocols regarding handwashing, mask-wearing (when required), and social distancing,” the statement reads. “Busing is being revised to meet the orange designation for Bird’s Hill School students. The parents will be receiving information for optional remote learning for their children while the school is in orange status.”
A provincial spokesperson said health officials have not ruled out in-school transmission at this time.
Bird’s Hill School previously reported on Oct. 11 that a confirmed case of COVID-19 was in the school on Sept. 30, Oct. 1, and Oct. 2.
OUTBREAK OVER AT WINNIPEG SCHOOL
The outbreak at John Pritchard School, which was declared last month, has now ended, the province announced on Tuesday.
The school is now at the yellow or caution level on the pandemic response system.
Coronavirus cases spike again in Manitoba on Tuesday – CTV News Winnipeg
Cases of COVID-19 have once again spiked in Manitoba, as provincial health officials announced 110 new cases on Tuesday.
These new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba since March to 3,491, which includes one case removed from the total due to duplication.
The cases announced on Tuesday include:
- two cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region;
- 11 cases in the Northern health region;
- two cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region;
- seven cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and
- 88 cases in the Winnipeg health region.
The province said there are currently 32 people in hospital, including six people in intensive care. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 remains at 42.
The five-day test positivity rate in Manitoba crept back up slightly to 4.3 per cent as of Tuesday.
The province said there are 1,746 active cases in the province, along with 1,703 recoveries – however, Dr. Brent Roussin, the chief provincial public health officer, has said these numbers may not be accurate due to a back log in reporting.
The Winnipeg region continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, with 2,113 total cases since March.
The Winnipeg Metropolitan Region is now under the orange or restricted level on the province’s pandemic response system, which includes increased restrictions.
This comes as Canada’s second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed the country’s total case count past the 200,000 mark on Monday.
The majority of Canada’s cases are in Ontario and Quebec, though cases have been rising across the country.
APPOINTMENT-BASED TESTING NOW AVAILABLE IN MANITOBA
The province had 2,149 COVID tests completed on Monday, bringing the total number of lab tests done since February to 228,713.
The province has also announced the introduction of appointment-based testing is launching in Manitoba on Tuesday.
The province said people are now able to make an appointment to book a COVID-19 test by calling 1-855-268-4318 or by going to the government’s website.
For now, the province said appointments will only be available at three sites, including 604 St. Mary’s Rd., 2735 Pembina Hwy., and 1181 Portage Ave.
The rest of the testing sites in the province are still working on a first-come, first-serve basis.
-with files from CTV’s Devon McKendrick and The Canadian Press’ Paola Loriggio
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