OTTAWA — Canada's industry minister will meet with General Motors CEO Mary Barra on Monday or Tuesday to urge her to find a solution for the auto giant's soon-to-be-shuttered plant in Oshawa. Ont.
A spokeswoman for Navdeep Bains says he will sit down with Barra on Monday afternoon at the International Auto Show in Detroit. Danielle Keenan says he intends to discuss any possible options for keeping the factory open.
News of the meeting came just hours after Unifor President Jerry Dias, who represents workers at the factory, demanded during a protest in Windsor, Ont., that the federal and provincial step in and even help facilitate a meeting between Unifor, Barra and elected officials. Barra has not been present at either meeting between Unifor and GM.
Keenan said Dias’ public demand had nothing to do with the timing of the Bains meeting Barra.
“He’s been in constant contact with GM, not just since the news broke in November,” Keenan said of Bains. “This was a meeting that was already in the works. This is his fourth consecutive [Detroit] auto show, so it would be expected that he meet with as many stakeholders as possible when he’s at the show.”
GM announced in November that it plans to close the factory at the end of this year — a move that will put about 2,600 hourly employees out of work.
At the time of the announcement, provincial and federal leaders alike conceded the futility of trying to persuade the automaker to keep its Oshawa plant running beyond the end of 2019.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he told Barra that he was deeply disappointed about the closure and insisted his government would do everything possible to help laid-off auto employees and their families.
Greg Layson of Automotive News Canada contributed to this report.