The Ontario Government released its 2021 budget on March 24, 2021. Amidst an overall increase in spending, it signalled an intention to commit further resources to invest in and grow Ontario’s automotive sector. These investments will be focused on building manufacturing capacity for electric, autonomous and connected vehicle technologies, and supporting job growth, both within the automotive industry itself and in supporting supply chain industries.
To further that goal, Ontario will create the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN). OVIN will carry on the work of the predecessor Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, established as part of the 2019 budget. OVIN will act as a hub to connect established industry, innovative start-ups, Ontario’s resource industries, and academia. OVIN will be funded with an initial investment of $56.4 million over the next four years.
Other provisions designed to accelerate investment in various facets of automotive manufacturing include $400 million earmarked for the Invest Ontario Fund, to spur investments in key sectors of the economy, including advanced manufacturing. Ontario will also be launching its first ever critical minerals strategy, to responsibly grow the Province’s extraction of rare earth elements and battery minerals, core components of electric vehicles and clean tech products.
Fasken has tracked Government programs designed to spur investment in Ontario’s automotive sector, such as in 2019, when the “Driving Prosperity” initiative was announced as a part of the 2019 budget. These provisions of the 2021 budget underline the Government’s interest in broadening its support of the automotive industry and its transition to clean tech. According to Steven Rosenhek, head of Fasken’s Automotive Group, “The last two years have seen significant investment in transitioning Ontario’s auto manufacturing capacity to a high-tech future. It’s great to see the Government continuing to invest in and provide resources to this sector and those who support it.”
The programs announced in the 2021 budget will begin soon. Fasken’s Government Relations Group and Automotive Group are happy to assist stakeholders that want to better understand what funding opportunities may be available and how they can partner with the Government to achieve their goals. Please feel free to contact the authors.