Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A sign stands outside Oshawa's General Motors car assembly plant in Oshawa, Canada.

Michelle Siu/THE CANADIAN PRESS

General Motors of Canada Ltd. will announce on Friday that it plans to hire as many as 1,000 additional engineers, giving a strong boost to its research and development activities in Canada.

The announcement, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne are scheduled to attend, will be made in Oshawa, Ont., home of the auto maker's Canadian Regional Engineering Centre, its head office and two vehicle assembly plants.

No federal or provincial money is attached to the increase in GM Canada's R&D activities on autonomous and connected vehicles, which will take place in Oshawa and at a new facility in Markham, Ont., sources said.

Story continues below advertisement

GM Canada has also opened an office in Waterloo, Ont., and has said some engineers will eventually be at a site near downtown Toronto that will also house a Canadian headquarters for its Cadillac luxury-car division.

The move will give Canada a bigger slice of the billions of dollars General Motors Co. and the world's auto makers are spending on the vehicles of the future – autonomous vehicles that eventually will not require a driver, connected vehicles that will be an extension of an office or home and electric and fuel-cell powered vehicles with lower emissions and improved fuel economy.

David Paterson, GM Canada's vice-president of corporate and environmental affairs, said the company had no comment.

The political leaders are certain to be asked about the future of the two assembly plants in Oshawa, and 2,500 direct manufacturing jobs, and how they can help secure those jobs.

One of the two plants is scheduled to close in 2017 and neither factory has new vehicles allocated to it, so the future of vehicle assembly appears grim in the city where GM Canada was founded.

Whether manufacturing of vehicles will continue in Oshawa will be determined in part by negotiations this summer on a new contract for workers who are members of Unifor, the union that represents workers there and at a plant that makes engines and transmissions in St. Catharines, Ont.

But GM Canada president Stephen Carlisle has been a strong proponent of Canada as a centre of innovation and knowledge. The company announced an expansion of its R&D in Oshawa last year by hiring 100 new engineers, bringing the total there to 300.

Story continues below advertisement

"They feel quite strongly that they have an ability to attract and retain talent in Oshawa, and now Markham," one source familiar with GM's plans said.

Mr. Carlisle has been vocal about how Canada needs to try to encourage auto makers to make better use of the country's brain power as the industry spends tens of billions of dollars developing autonomous vehicles, working on new technology that makes vehicle electronics seamless with those in homes and researching new ways of propulsion that reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

He is fond of mentioning that the auto industry is at an inflection point similar to the early 1900s, when gasoline-powered vehicles took over personal transportation from horses and horse-drawn carriages.

Consulting firm IHS Automotive forecast on Tuesday that 21 million autonomous vehicles will be on the road globally by 2035.

Industry sources said the creation of as many as 1,000 new engineering jobs is a strong jolt of positive news, but also fretted about the future of the Oshawa assembly plants, on which thousands of jobs at suppliers also depend. That includes seat-making, bumper manufacturing, engine and transmission parts and the thousands of other components that are assembled into vehicles.

Engineering jobs are "different from 'We've got a mandate to make 300,000 of car X,'" one industry source said. "They may be higher-value [jobs], but they are more precarious."

Story continues below advertisement

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies