By Paul Vieira 

OTTAWA -- Ford Motor Co. of Canada has reached a tentative deal with its 5,400 unionized employees in Canada, in a settlement that also secures a nearly $1.5 billion investment in two plants and a commitment to build electric cars in suburban Toronto.

The president of Unifor, Canada's largest private-sector union, revealed the details at a press conference Tuesday. Ford's Canadian unit issued a brief statement, saying a tentative three-year deal is subject to ratification by union members. Until ratification, it wouldn't comment further.

Talks extended beyond the original strike deadline of midnight on Monday.

Unifor president Jerry Dias said the settlement, reached early Tuesday, includes a total investment in two Ford Motor factories -- an engine plant in Windsor, Ontario, and a vehicle-assembly factory in Oakville, Ontario -- of 1.95 billion Canadian dollars, the equivalent of $1.46 billion. The plant in Oakville will be retooled to build five models of electric vehicles, Mr. Dias said.

Canada's Liberal government and the conservative government in the province of Ontario contributed toward the investment package. Spokespeople for both governments didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. On Monday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the country's most-populous province was in talks with Ford about providing significant cash toward keeping the plants open.

Mr. Dias said the settlement, including the investment in plants, was the result of months of talks involving Ford, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Ontario government. At the start of talks with Ford, Mr. Dias said Unifor was concerned about the future of the employees at the Oakville factory, because of the company's lack of long-term commitment to build another vehicle there besides the Ford Edge.

"We were determined to ensure we solidified a product for our Oakville plant. I think it is fair to say as an organization we hit a home run," Mr. Dias said.

Mr. Dias added the agreement also secures production in Oakville of the batteries required for the electric cars. Assembly of battery-charged electric vehicles will begin starting in 2025, he said.

Write to Paul Vieira at paul.vieira@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 22, 2020 13:08 ET (17:08 GMT)

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