Antonella Artuso, Toronto Sun
, Last Updated: 8:35 PM ET
TORONTO — The announcement by Ford Motor Company that it would cut 600 jobs in Canada — less than two months after receiving just over $ 200 million in federal and provincial government grants — should accelerate an end to taxpayer-funded corporate handouts, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says.
CTF federal director Aaron Wudrick said it’s time to start looking at other options, like developing new industries and helping people transition out of doomed ones, rather than propping up companies with direct government grants.
“If the solution is always going to be we have to absolutely keep the jobs that are there right now today, that can start to become very expensive, very quickly,” Wudrick said Thursday. “Even if we think it’s a great idea on paper, we have too many examples now where companies take the money and then as soon as the subsidy runs out — or sometimes sooner — they just fly the coop.”
At the end of March, the Ontario and federal governments announced each would give Ford a $ 102.4-million grant.
Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid said the Ford job cuts will be in management and marketing, not in product development or manufacturing.
The intention is to offer early retirement and packages, and it’s not clear at this stage that any non-volunteers will be laid off, he said.
“It’s not that it’s ever good news when this happens, but at the same time, companies like Ford — all companies around the world — need to transform themselves to be able to compete in the new economy,” he said.
The government grant has ensured the survival of 500 jobs at the Windsor engine plant and an additional 300 new positions in the Ford connectivity innovation centre, he said.
“So, right off the top, that’s 800 jobs that are in Ontario that wouldn’t otherwise be,” Duguid said.
With U.S. President Donald Trump promising to slash corporate taxes, Wudrick said the country may have to consider matching those tax reductions to maintain jobs.
“There’s no amount of subsidies that we’ll be able to throw at companies to keep them here if Americans actually cut taxes dramatically,” he said.
Duguid said Ontario is doing both – investing directly in industries and also maintaining corporate tax rates below the average of their competing American jurisdictions.