Hundreds of skilled workers from South Korea will be working at the NextStar EV battery factory in Windsor, Ontario. These workers are legally eligible to work in Canada under a free trade agreement that was negotiated and implemented by Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government in 2015.
Earlier concerns were raised about the employment of foreign workers at the facility, with Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre demanding a full inquiry into the allocation of taxpayer-funded jobs to temporary foreign workers. However, Liberal ministers have clarified that the South Korean workers are eligible to work in Canada under the labor mobility provisions outlined in the free trade agreement.
According to Immigration Minister Marc Miller, fewer than 100 South Korean workers have entered Canada under these provisions, and they have been primarily focused on training Canadian workers. Miller further emphasized that not a single Canadian job has been paused or affected by the presence of these foreign workers.
The free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea allows for reciprocal temporary entry of businesspersons from both countries. This means that companies from each country can take advantage of job opportunities in the other’s jurisdiction. The employment minister’s office has confirmed that only one temporary foreign worker has been authorized for the Windsor facility so far.
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne, who also spoke with the CEO of Stellantis in the United States, emphasized that the goal is to maximize opportunities for Canadian workers at the NextStar plant. The joint venture between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution aims to employ 2,500 workers at the plant and create about 2,000 construction jobs for Canadians.
The presence of specialized global supplier staff from South Korea during the equipment installation phase is crucial for the successful construction and launch of Canada’s first large-scale battery manufacturing facility. These workers possess the proprietary knowledge and expertise needed to ensure the new technology’s success.
While concerns about the employment of foreign workers are valid, it is important to view these workers as part of a larger venture that seeks to maximize job opportunities for Canadians. The South Korean workers at the NextStar EV battery factory are contributing to the growth and expertise development in Canada’s EV industry.
1. Are the South Korean workers taking jobs away from Canadians?
No, the South Korean workers are legally eligible to work in Canada under the labor mobility provisions of the free trade agreement between Canada and South Korea. They have been primarily involved in training Canadian workers and have not affected any Canadian job opportunities.
2. How many South Korean workers have entered Canada under the free trade agreement provisions?
As of now, fewer than 100 South Korean workers have entered Canada under the labor mobility provisions of the free trade agreement.
3. What is the goal of the NextStar EV battery factory?
The NextStar EV battery factory, a joint venture between Stellantis and LG Energy Solution, aims to employ 2,500 workers at the plant and create about 2,000 construction jobs for Canadians. It is Canada’s first large-scale battery manufacturing facility and plays a crucial role in the country’s growth in the electric vehicle industry.