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Deputy Prime Minister Crest

Remarks by the Deputy Prime Minister announcing a consultation to protect Canadian workers and electric vehicle supply chains from unfair Chinese trade practices

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Good morning.

I would like to start by acknowledging that we are gathered in the Territory and Treaty 13 lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.

I want to start by saying how absolutely thrilled I am to be here, and the most important people here today are all of the great workers here. And I just want to say to every one of you: You are remarkable. You work so hard every day, and thanks to how hard you work, thanks to your teamwork, thanks to how smart you are, you are putting Canada on the cutting-edge of one of the most important industries in the world. I am so grateful to you, and I am so proud of you.

I am going to get into the details of the announcement in a minute, but it really boils down to three things. 

One, we believe in you. Two, we have invested in you, and we are going to keep on investing in you because you are literally one of the engine rooms of Canada. And three, we are going to protect you and defend you from unfair competition, and I want you to know that.   

So, it is so great to be here in Vaughan today. I am thrilled to be here with my colleague, Mary Ng, our Trade Minister. I am thrilled to be here today with Lana Payne of Unifor. I am thrilled to be here with Flavio Volpe who is such a great advocate for Canada and this sector. And I am so glad to be here with Rob Wildeboer.

Canada’s auto workers are the best in the world. Our automotive sector supports nearly 550,000 good-paying Canadian jobs, many of which are unionized. Today, Canada’s electric vehicle (EV) battery supply chain potential is ranked first in the world. Our government is absolutely seized of the opportunities of EVs, and we are going to ensure that Canada and Canadian workers can keep on succeeding and have great, good-paying jobs. 

Canadian auto workers and the auto sector, however, are facing unfair competition from China’s intentional, state-directed policy of overcapacity. That is undermining Canada’s EV sector’s ability to compete in domestic and global markets. Chinese producers are quite intentionally generating a global oversupply that undermines EV producers around the world, including here in Canada. That is why we are here today. 

Our government is taking clear, strong, decisive action to protect Canadian workers, to level the playing field, to prevent oversupply, and to prevent transshipment through Canada. 

On July 2nd, we will launch a 30-day consultation on potential policy responses to protect Canada’s auto workers, our growing EV industry, and to prevent trade diversion.  

The potential policy actions we are consulting on include: a surtax on imports of Chinese EVs under section 53 of the Customs Tariff; changes to which cars are eligible for the existing federal Incentives for Zero-Emission Vehicles program; and potentially broader investment restrictions in Canada. 

Canada is not alone in facing these challenges. In launching these consultations, we are making sure that Canada acts in concert with our allies in the United States and in the European Union whose own tariffs on Chinese EVs will be coming into effect later this summer and fall. Launching these consultations will help us work collaboratively with unions, with industry, and with all levels of government to develop options to make sure that Canada does not become a dumping ground for Chinese oversupply. And the people you see here standing together are the people who are going to be part of that Team Canada approach to these consultations, making sure we get the right measures in place quickly. Furthermore, our supply chains are deeply integrated with the United States thanks to our robust and hard-won free trade agreement. Acting in partnership to support the deeply integrated North American auto sector is essential as a strong action to prevent transshipment. 

Canada’s carve-in when the United States brought in EV incentives is a measure of the strength and value of that trading relationship.

The consultations will seek comments on cyber and data security related to protecting Canadians’ privacy and Canada’s national security interests.

We will also consider perspectives on policies driving China’s overcapacity and surging exports of EVs, including labour and environmental standards, and unfair and non-market practices. 

The consultation we are launching will help us reach a solution that strongly defends Canada’s national economic interest, that strongly defends all of the amazing, smart, hard-working people who are here with us today, and the tens of hundreds of thousands of others. We are absolutely determined to protect our world-leading automotive sector, and first and foremost our amazing automotive sector workers.  

I want to conclude by highlighting some great news for Canadian workers. 

Last week, the Fall Economic Statement Implementation Act and the Budget Implementation Act received Royal Assent. 

These are important pieces of legislation that have put into effect some key economic measures, measures that are supporting investments in your industry. These include four of our major investment tax credits. They are now law. 

We’re delivering new investment tax credits for: 

  • Clean Hydrogen;
  • Clean Technology;
  • Clean Technology Manufacturing; and
  • Carbon Capture, Utilization, and Storage.

These are really important tax credits that are going to be magnets that pull in even more investment, provided we defend the industry against unfair competition, which we are absolutely determined to do.

These new tax credits will attract more private investment, create more good-paying jobs, and grow the economy.

In particular, the Clean Technology Manufacturing investment tax credit will support activities that are fundamental to the EV car manufacturing supply chain.

From mining critical minerals, to refining these metals, to building batteries, to building the cars themselves—this tax credit supports it all. 

And we are supporting Canadian workers by linking some of our investment tax credits to labour requirements. This will give businesses an incentive to pay a prevailing union wage and to create apprenticeship opportunities.

This is the first time in Canadian history that labour requirements have been attached to tax credits—and that is further proof of our commitment to ensure that our economic plan delivers for Canadian workers and for their families.

Having these four major investment tax credits enshrined into law is the final step in giving certainty to businesses that want to create good-paying jobs and bring even more investment to Canada. They are placing Canada at the forefront of the global race to seize the opportunities of today and tomorrow. 

And what that means for everyone here is an even stronger auto sector with good-paying jobs—now and for generations to come. 

This is a real milestone in our economic plan. I cannot underscore how significant these four investment tax credits will be in setting the Canadian economy up for success in the long term. 

Our government is acting now—and acting with purpose. Because Canadians and Canadian workers are counting on us.

I am really delighted to be here with you today, I am so grateful to you, and so inspired by the work you do. I want you to know we as a government believe in you, we are proud to be investing in you, and we are absolutely determined to protect you from unfair competition. 

Thank you.