Police in Windsor, Ontario, are preparing for the arrival of approximately 1,600 South Koreans to work at the town’s new electric-vehicle battery plant. The plant, known as the NextStar factory, has been praised by the Canadian government as a significant source of employment for Canadians. However, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre expressed concern that these jobs could potentially go to temporary workers from Korea, depriving Canadians of promised employment opportunities. He called for a “full inquiry” and for the contract between the government and the global auto giant Stellantis NV and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution Ltd. to be made public.
Unions have also voiced their concerns, with the Windsor Police Service tweeting about the expected influx of South Korean workers in 2024. The NextStar factory is being built with substantial subsidies from the federal and Ontario governments, making it the largest investment in Canada’s auto sector history. While it was expected to generate 2,500 jobs for Canadians in Windsor and the surrounding areas, the recruitment of Korean workers has raised alarms among MPs, unions, and construction trades groups.
The federal employment department has already approved the hiring of a temporary foreign worker for an administrative role, citing the inability to find a suitable Canadian candidate. Sean Strickland, executive director of Canada’s Building Trades Unions, emphasized the importance of understanding the labor requirements of the NextStar Energy EV Plant before the situation becomes irreparable. Windsor NDP MP Brian Masse also raised concerns in the House of Commons, demanding that jobs at the heavily subsidized plant be unionized and primarily offered to local workers.
While the use of South Korean workers has caused controversy, NextStar Energy CEO Danies Lee defended the decision, noting that specialized foreign workers were necessary for the installation of equipment that required specialist skills. Lee reiterated the company’s commitment to hiring over 2,500 full-time Canadian employees for the Windsor battery facility and engaging an additional 2,300 local tradespeople.
Q: What is the NextStar factory?
A: The NextStar factory is an electric-vehicle battery plant in Windsor, Ontario.
Q: How many South Korean workers are expected in Windsor?
A: Approximately 1,600 South Korean workers are expected to arrive in Windsor in 2024.
Q: Why are there concerns about the employment of South Korean workers?
A: There are concerns that Canadian jobs promised by the NextStar factory may go to temporary workers from South Korea.
Q: Has the federal government released the contract terms with Stellantis NV and LG Energy Solution Ltd.?
A: The Conservative Leader has called for the contract to be made public, but it has not yet been released.