Ontario stepping up in ‘massive, massive way’ to ensure Stellantis plant, premier says

The Ontario government is stepping up in a “massive, massive way” to help resolve the funding dispute over the Stellantis-LG Energy Solution battery-cell plant in Windsor, Premier Doug Ford said June 1.

While Ford would not disclose how much more money the province is prepared to contribute to the $5-billion project, he told reporters in Windsor that Ontario “is in for one-third of the cost.”

Ford didn’t say whether the province’s contribution was earmarked for the cost of construction or the total cost of the project, including subsidies for the battery cells and modules to be made at the plant.

Initially, the province was prepared to contribute $500 million to the facility.

Ford said recent Toronto media reports that a deal was done were premature, although he expressed confidence that a resolution was possible.

“This is the federal government’s deal and we’re there to support them. We’re putting more money up. And I think we’re about that close from getting it done.”

Ford said he and Industry Minister Vic Fedeli were in discussions with Stellantis, federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne well into the early morning hours Thursday in a bid to overcome the standoff in funding negotiations.

“We were on the line with the PMO, Christina’s team, along with Francois Philippe … until 2:00 in the morning … But we’re here to help them get their deal.”

The federal government, Ontario, Stellantis and LG Energy Solution have been in heavy negotiations for a few weeks after the companies paused construction of the battery-module portion of their planned NextStar Energy factory in a dispute over federal subsidies.

Earlier in the day, Stellantis said there is no deal yet to ensure all of the $5-billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ont., gets built.

Stellantis spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin says they have yet to receive an official response from letters sent to the federal government.

The negotiations have been stuck between what Canada thinks is fair and affordable and what the company believes it is due. Stellantis says it isn’t getting what was promised by the federal government in a “special contribution agreement” in February.

Stellantis has threatened to move at least the module portion the plant out of Windsor if it doesn’t get what it says it was promised by the federal government in that agreement.

— With files from the Canadian Press

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