Canadian Content Rules help Create Jobs in Quebec

February 10, 2010, 4:00 PM EST


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In a move rarely seen in North America, a major Chinese railcar manufacturer announced plans to offshore the production of subway cars to Canada, creating 1,000 new jobs. The move is part of the company's effort to meet Canadian-content requirements set by the government of Quebec to win a new multi-billion dollar transit project.

Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive of China, who is currently locked in a bidding war with a Bombardier-Alstom consortium to win a subway car contract from the City of Montreal, announced on February 8 it is prepared to manufacture all 1,050 required cars in Canada, if its bid is successful.

The Chinese railcar giant is conforming to the 60 per cent Canadian-content policy established by the provincial government in 2008. The policy governs all subway car purchases in the province.

"This announcement highlights the effectiveness of Buy Canadian policies as a means to create jobs and encourage new investment in our country," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "It proves that companies are prepared to follow local content rules in Canada, if they are put in place."

The CAW applauded Quebec's decision to establish a domestic content policy that mirrors rules set out by the United States under its Buy America laws. The CAW has called on all levels of government to adopt similar policies to ensure a major portion of public spending is used to spur regional and economic development in Canada.

"Most of Canada's largest trading partners actively use domestic content policies to create jobs and support their home industries, yet the Harper government has been quick to call this protectionism," said Bob Chernecki, Assistant to the CAW National President.

"This is smart economic policy that supports fair trade and good jobs in many industries, from transit to shipbuilding, and it's time our government got on board with the rest of the world."

The CAW has mounted a number of successful Buy Canadian campaigns across the country, at both provincial and municipal levels, resulting in billions of public dollars spent in Canadian communities.

In 2009, the CAW worked with City of Toronto Mayor David Miller and the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) to include Canadian-content provisions in a record-breaking $1.2 billion light rail transit project. Because of this provision, over 200 rail vehicles will be built in Thunder Bay, Ontario creating and preserving thousands of jobs.

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