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NDP slams government for not following transit vehicle Canadian content rule

TORONTO — Ontario's Opposition New Democrats are criticizing the government for not following a rule that transit vehicles bought with provincial funding must have at least 25 per cent Canadian content.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said in question period Thursday that a request for proposals for the Ontario Line subway project was leaked to her party and shows that the Canadian content requirement is being lowered to 10 per cent.

Government officials who were not authorized to speak on the record say an exception was made in this case because the kind of automated trains being sought for the Ontario Line are not made in Canada.

The officials say this is not the first time the government has made an exception to this rule, for example in seeking electrified or hydrogen-powered locomotives to pull train cars on a GO rail expansion. 

Horwath says not adhering to the 25 per cent Canadian content rule for transit vehicles puts good-paying jobs such as those at Alstom in Thunder Bay, Ont., at risk.

Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho says the rule itself has not been changed and that overall, the majority of the Ontario Line project will still be manufactured in Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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