Canadian Manufacturing

Unifor freaks out over EDC’s $526M Volkswagen loan

Unifor president Jerry Dias says it's "absolutely incredible" the federal agency is helping facilitate auto sector migration to Mexico

TORONTO—Canada’s largest private sector union is condemning a federal agency for lending roughly $526 million to Volkswagen to expand its operations in the U.S. and Mexico.

In an April 24 statement, Unifor says it’s “absolutely incredible” that Export Development Canada is helping facilitate the migration of the auto industry to Mexico.

Unifor president Jerry Dias says there is no guarantee that the loan will benefit Canada.

In a statement earlier this week, EDC said the financing to the German automaker is designed to create opportunities for qualified small and medium-sized Canadian companies to win new business with the global automotive giant.

But Dias says there are no requirements for Volkswagen to buy anything from Canadian auto parts firms.

Dias is calling for Industry Minister James Moore to review EDC’s actions and to prohibit future loans to automakers in other countries.

“If the Canadian government is really interested in supporting the auto parts sector, then it should focus on winning new investments and creating new jobs right here in Canada,” said Dias in a news release.

“It is painfully ironic that we recently lost out on a lucrative engine investment in Windsor by Ford, largely because of inadequate government support. Yet we can somehow find $526 million to help a foreign firm invest in Mexico,” he said in the statement.

Export Development Canada is a Crown agency that’s role is to develop Canada’s export trade. It operates at arm’s length from government.

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