Ontario Investing Over $7.8 Million to Support Jobs in the Windsor-Essex Region

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

News: Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure

Province Partnering with Local Automotive Supply Companies to Bring Jobs and Investment

Ontario is investing over $7.8 million in seven companies in the Windsor-Essex region to support economic growth, create 270 jobs and retain more than 1,180 positions.

The seven companies will receive support through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, which helps create jobs and diversify the economy by encouraging businesses to be innovative and pursue new markets. The companies include:

Astrex Inc. — Ontario is investing $1.5 million to help Astrex (a joint venture of Can Art Aluminum Extrusion and Constellium) produce high-strength alloys for the automotive sector. The project has a total value of $28.4 million and requires a new facility, equipment, and training, resulting in the creation of 62 new jobs over four years.

The Electromac Group — Ontario is investing $1.5 million to help Electromac expand its facility, purchase equipment and install three hot stamping production lines to meet increased demand for light weight auto parts. The company develops complex tooling and metal stamped products primarily for the auto sector. The project has a total value of over $15.4 million and will create 30 new jobs and retain 191 positions over five years.

Essex Weld Solutions — Ontario is investing $450,000 to help Essex Weld Solutions expand and acquire state-of-the-art fibre optic laser cutting machines to increase production and implement robotic welding processes. Essex Weld Solutions manufactures custom and standard automotive racks. The project has a total value of more than $4.5 million and will create 20 jobs and retain 110 positions over three years.

Integrity Tool and Mold — Ontario is investing more than $1.1 million to help Integrity Tool and Mold upgrade equipment to produce higher quality and more precise molds than what are currently on the market. The company makes plastic injection molding primarily for the auto sector. The project has a total value of more than $16.6 million and will create 52 new jobs and retain 317 positions over three years.

JD Norman Canada — Ontario is investing more than $480,000 to help JD Norman Canada invest in new equipment to improve product quality and ramp-up production. The company makes connecting rods for the automotive sector. The project has a total value of more than $4.8 million and will create 14 jobs and retain 85 over five years.

Lakeside Plastics — Ontario is investing $1.28 million to help Lakeside Plastics purchase new machinery and equipment to expand their capabilities and improve competitiveness. The company manufactures plastic automotive interior trim parts. The project has a total value of $12.8 million and will create 55 jobs and retain 305 positions over almost four years.

Ventra Group — Ontario is investing $1.5 million to help Ventra Group upgrade facilities and purchase new equipment. The company stamps, welds and assembles metal automotive parts. The project will incorporate an experimental high-strength steel new to the automotive industry. The project has a total value of more than $31.9 million and will create 37 jobs and retain 179 positions over four years.

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is modelled on the proven Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Together these two funds have helped to create and retain more than 42,000 jobs and have attracted more than $1.9 billion in investment.

The funds typically cover up to 15 per cent of eligible project costs, with the recipient company funding the remainder from its own resources. This leveraging of private sector investment provides enhanced value for taxpayers.

Attracting new investment to Southwestern Ontario is part of the government’s economic plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in talent and skills, including helping more people get and create the jobs of the future by expanding access to high-quality college and university education. The plan is making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history and investing in a low-carbon economy driven by innovative, high-growth, export-oriented businesses. The plan is also helping working Ontarians achieve a more secure retirement.



“Ontario is committed to forging partnerships that create good jobs and grow our economy. The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund gives reputable companies the chance to adopt new technologies that will help them grow their business and stay competitive.” — Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure


“Manufacturing is a key economic driver for Ontario. We are pleased to help support these forward-thinking companies’ investment projects, which will bring high-skilled jobs to the region and grow our reputation for excellence in automotive manufacturing.” —  Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre




  • Ontario is one of the top jurisdictions in North America for vehicle production and the only sub-national jurisdiction to have five major global automotive assemblers: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as truck manufacturer Hino.
  • Ontario’s assembly plants are supported by an advanced supply chain that comprises over 700 part suppliers and more than 500 tool, die and mold makers.
  • Since October 2012, Ontario has committed to invest over $95 million through the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund, leveraging private-sector investment of more than $1.1 billion. These investments are helping to create over 4,000 new jobs and retain more than 20,000 existing jobs in the region.
  • Ontario is accepting applications for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund from qualified businesses that are growing and creating jobs. Sectors eligible for the fund include advanced manufacturing, food processing, life sciences, information and communications technology, tourism and cultural industries.
  • Ontario's five-year, $400-million Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.
  • As part of the Business Growth Initiative, Ontario announced the Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Program to help smaller auto parts companies adopt the latest technologies, plus support for the Canadian Urban Transit Research and Innovation Consortium to support R&D and commercialization of technologies.



Find out if your business qualifies for the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.

Jessica Hume, Minister’s Office, 416-325-7569
Andreas Kyprianou, Communications Branch, 416-325-2479


BACKGROUNDER: Support for Investments in the Automotive Sector in Windsor


“We are very pleased that Minister Matthews is here to announce that several of our local companies are receiving grants to support growth and expansion in the Windsor-Essex region. We will continue to work closely with our provincial partners so that more of our companies take advantage of the program to bring prosperity to our region.”  — Rakesh Naidu, CEO (Interim), WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation


“We are pleased to partner with the Ontario government on our new, cutting edge facility in the town of Lakeshore. Using a patented technology we will be extruding alloys for the automotive sector that are stronger and weigh less than other similar aluminium products.”  —  Lucy Cedrone, CAO, Astrex Inc


“We welcome the support from the Ontario government on this important project. We have continued to invest significantly in automotive lightweighting technology in the Windsor area with the launch of three production lines.”  — Ray Prieduls, Chief Financial Officer, The Electromac Group


 “We are excited about our project and happy the province of Ontario is working with us. This project will help us substantially reduce lead times on orders, hire employees and further solidify our position as a North American leader in automotive packaging. We are also purchasing a state-of-the-art powder coating machine to meet customer demand in an environmentally friendly way.”  —  Abe Friesen, President, Essex Weld Solutions 


“Partnering with the province of Ontario means we have the support we need to invest in high tech processing equipment that will make us a Canadian leader. Today’s news is good for the community of Oldcastle, for the automotive supply chain and for our company.”  —  Wayne McLaughlin, Plant Manager, Integrity Tool and Mold


“We are grateful for the support from the Ontario government. Our vision is to build an organization with world class manufacturing and product leadership. The new equipment will improve the Windsor plant’s production rate and product quality, and allow us meet demand in this growing automotive market.”  —  Justin D. Norman, President & Chief Executive Officer, JD Norman Industries, Inc. 


“Lakeside Plastics is pleased to be the recipient of a $1.28 million investment on behalf of the Province of Ontario. Lakeside is in the midst of various growth initiatives, and the funding stream aligns favourably with our current strategy. Lakeside Plastics recently entered its 40th year as an active employer within Windsor-Essex business community, and looks forward to further job creation/expansion in the coming years at our Oldcastle campus.”  — Jim Gazo, President, Lakeside Plastics


“We are expanding and upgrading our Lakeshore plant with support from the Ontario government. We’ve been working with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to develop the processing of innovative high-strength steel. The upgrades to our plant will give us the ability to process the new material and give us a leg up over our competitors.”  — Dave Ekblad, Chief Financial Officer, Ventra Group Co.