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Trudeau vows to help get GM workers ‘back on their feet’ as automaker stands firm on Oshawa closure

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today the federal government will do what it can to help laid-off GM workers in Oshawa “get back on their feet,” while federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains said Ottawa stands ready to assist those workers any way it can.

But both federal and provincial governments are signalling there’s little they can do now to save a key component of the company’s Canadian operations as executives pursue a global shakeup in response to slumping auto sales.

“I talked to the president of GM last night. The first thing I said is, ‘What can we do? What do we have to do?'” Ontario Premier Doug Ford told reporters this morning. “And he said, ‘The ship has already left the dock.'”

Both Bains and Premier Ford seemed resigned to the plant’s closure Monday. When asked if there was anything the federal government could do to convince the Detroit-based automaker to shift production of another vehicle to the factory, Bains said the closure is part of a larger “global restructuring plan” that will see similar facilities in Michigan and Ohio close.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains listens to a question during a press conference on General Motors’ decision regarding the future of its automotive plant in Oshawa, on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

“We’re willing to engage and work with them but they’ve been clear about their position,” Bains, the government’s lead on the automotive file, told reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons this morning. “We’re very, very disappointed with the news … Personally, I’m very, very hurt by this. To see this plant close is devastating.”

GM confirmed Monday it would close its Oshawa plant in 2019, throwing about 3,000 unionized people out of work.

The plant makes the Chevrolet Impala, a once-popular vehicle that has seen its sales crater in recent years as consumer tastes shifted away from small and midsize sedans toward bigger vehicles like pickup trucks and sport-utility vehicles.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will react to GM’s announcement at 1:15 p.m. ET. CBCNews.ca will carry his remarks live.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer reacts to General Motors’s announcement that it’s shutting down its Oshawa plant. 0:00

Premier Ford said it seems GM cannot be convinced at this point to save the plant. He said Ottawa should concentrate on extending Employment Insurance (EI) supports to laid-off workers and commit to funding new training to deploy affected workers elsewhere. Bains said “all options are on the table” for GM employees.

Trudeau said he spoke the CEO of GM, Mary Barra, to express his “deep disappointment” with the closure. Trudeau has met with Barra a number of times since assuming office. She is a board member on the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, a council co-developed by Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Jerry Dias, president of ​Unifor — the union that represents workers at the plant — said the union would fight tooth and nail to bring another product to the plant to preserve jobs.

“Unifor does not accept the closure of the plant as a foregone conclusion,” Dias said in a statement. “Oshawa has been in this situation before with no product on the horizon and we were able to successfully make the case for continued operations. We will vigorously fight again to maintain these good-paying auto jobs.”

Beyond Oshawa, GM is also planning to close its operation in Lordstown, Ohio — which makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact — the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, where the Chevrolet Volt, Buick LaCrosse and Cadillac CT6 are produced, and two other transmission plants in the U.S.

While the Oshawa operation is a shell of its former self following decades of cuts, Bains conceded the closure will be “incredibly devastating” to the local community.

The closure will reverberate far beyond those municipal borders, as many other Canadian auto part suppliers feed the plant in southern Ontario.

Bains said the government remains committed to supporting the larger automotive sector, which employs 500,000 Canadians directly and indirectly. He said companies in the industrial and technology sectors could continue to tap the Strategic Innovation Fund for government supports.

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Real Estate

Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Real Estate

Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Real Estate

Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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