Economy

Bombardier laying off 550 workers from Thunder Bay plant

Bombardier laying off 550 workers from Thunder Bay plant

Hundreds of jobs at the Bombardier rail vehicle plant are on the chopping block. The company's chief operating officer, David Van der Wee, gave insight to the CBC in June that layoffs were around the corner, though he said the company remained committed to the Thunder Bay operation.

"Our Government has made historic investments in public transit, but Doug Ford has left that money on the table".

The other Toronto-area contract with Bombardier, Metrolinx's $428-million deal for 125 two-level GO Transit commuter rail cars, is slated for completion in early 2020.

"Now you're looking at these people moving from Thunder Bay or working in the logging industry or the mining industry".

In Thunder Bay, union president Dominic Pasqualino said he fears more job losses are on the horizon beyond the initial 550 as the contracts wind down.

"Minister Patricia Hajdu is doing a disservice to her constituents by playing politics with the livelihood of Bombardier employees whose jobs are now at risk if the Federal Liberal government does not quickly commit to funding the full federal share of Ontario's historic $28.5 billion transit expansion plan", Fedeli noted in a statement to BayToday. "But the thing is, it doesn't look like things are going to go back up", he said in an interview.

Ontario's Minister of Transportation, Caroline Mulroney, responded to the news in a statement.

Canada's Bombardier (BBDb.TO) said on Wednesday it would lay off around half of the workforce, or about 550 employees, at its passenger train plant in Ontario, effective November 4, confirming earlier media reports.

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Ford said three months ago the province would contribute $11.2 billion to Ontario's transit plan, and asked the federal government, the City of Toronto and York Region to cover the rest.

"Our executive has spoken to executives at Bombardier to advise our disappointment that their company has taken this step. Therefore, we can not fully leverage our Canadian manufacturing footprint and expertise", Bombardier said in a statement.

Pasqualino laid part of the blame for a lack of new contracts on the province, however, saying that "our customer is the government, it's not individuals". No local content requirement was set by CDPQ Infra, the subsidiary of the Caisse leading the project.

The transportation company's layoffs mark Bombardier's latest downsizing move in an ongoing effort to improve profitability.

Ontario's Ministry of Transportation said it is now negotiating an additional 36 Metrolinx rail cars as part of an existing Bombardier contract. Ford has previously said the province will pay for the entire project if Ottawa won't help.

The Ontario government is urging Bombardier Inc.

"We have a plan sitting there that can keep these people employed", Ford said.


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