Car Production Line

Manufacturing, distribution, aftermarket parts, sales and other elements of the automotive industry have been a vital segment of Ontario’s economy for several decades. Ontario’s auto sector directly employs 127,000 workers, with an annual payroll of $8 billion, making it the largest manufacturing sector.  Ontario hosts the Canadian headquarters and manufacturing plants for the “Big Three” as well as many Japanese and European corporations, including:

  • General Motors (Oshawa)
  • Ford (Oakville)
  • Chrysler (Windsor) now owned by Fiat
  • Honda (Toronto and Alliston)
  • Toyota (Toronto and Woodstock)
  • Volvo (Toronto)

Automotive parts manufacturers also play a central role in Ontario’s economy, historically in part because of its proximity to Michigan and other factors. Some of the largest auto parts manufacturers include:

  • Magna International (York Region)
  • Linamar (Kitchener-Waterloo)
  • Arvin Sango (London)
  • A comprehensive list of auto parts manufacturers can be found on the Ontario Auto Alliance website here.

According to figures from Auto 21, which supports nearly 200 researchers working on auto industry projects, Ontario’s automotive industry invests $500 million to $1 billion annually in research and development.

Ontario provides access to about 60% of the North American market, and is the largest single auto jurisdiction on the continent, producing one in every six North American-built vehicles. Ambassadors from the Ontario Automotive Communities Alliance (OACA) travel around the globe to generate new trade and investment to the province.

A list of Canadian federal and Ontario provincial incentives for automotive industry investment can be found on the OACA website here.

The main regions of Ontario which host Ontario’s automotive industry include:

  • Southwestern Ontario (City of London, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Ontario’s “Heartland” )
  • City of Hamilton
  • Durham and York Regions

Ontario educational institutions, including 44 universities and colleges offer degree, diploma or certificate programs in automotive:

  • Design
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing and Sales
  • Maintenance/Repair
  • Dealer/Industrial Management

These schools offer co-op and internship programs where students can get hands on experience with an Ontario automotive enterprise or small-to-medium sized company.

Ontario’s automotive industry is pursuing innovations in alternative energy sources for vehicles including electric and hybrid vehicles and other design modifications to make vehicles safer, and have a smaller environmental footprint. The Ontario government offers incentives to companies that produce vehicles which meet these standards.