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The factory will need expertise from elsewhere, such as Stellantis in Ontario, which will bring in South Koreans.

Northvolt : foreign employees to launch production

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Volkswagen employees remove a module that includes lithium-ion battery cells, at a factory in Salzgitter, northern Germany.

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Hundreds of foreign workers will come to Quebec to help start battery production at the Northvolt factory, Radio-Canada has learned. The Swedish company says it needs this expertise, as does the Stellantis company in Ontario, which will use hundreds of South Koreans. The federal government defends a necessary “technology transfer”, while the unions are on guard.

Northvolt assures that it will not bring in foreign workers to build the factory in Montérégie: The construction contracts will be awarded to companies already established here, she says. It is rather to launch production that it will need professionals from elsewhere.

Cutting-edge expertise coming from our other sites will be necessary temporarily, explains spokesperson Laurent Therrien. He adds that everything will be done to favor the hiring of local experts, when possible.

It should be remembered that starting large-scale production lines in the battery sector is an expertise that must be developed in Quebec.

A quote from Laurent Therrien, spokesperson for Northvolt in North America< /blockquote>

We believe that everyone benefits from ensuring the transfer of these skills, explains Northvolt.

These comments echo those of Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne. As we have never manufactured batteries here, in Canada, in the United States, in North America, generally, there is a need for technology transfer, Mr. Champagne replied on Friday, to journalists who questioned him about the planned arrival of hundreds of South Korean workers in Windsor, Ontario, for the Stellantis factory.

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Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne.

For the Quebec project, the Swedish company says that it is too early to be able to quantify the number of experts we will need with precision, but to give an order of magnitude, it will be a few hundred of people, including Northvolt employees and employees of our suppliers.

Most of Northvolt's experts are in Sweden, but the company also has teams in Norway, Poland and Germany.

Northvolt can count on various loans and grants from Quebec and Ottawa, for a total of $7.3 billion.

In Windsor, local police cited the figure of 1,600 South Korean workers, which created political and union controversy. The future NextStar Energy battery factory, scheduled to open next year, benefits from public subsidies worth $15 billion.

The joint venture between global automotive giant Stellantis and South Korean battery maker LG Energy Solution is the largest investment in the history of the Canadian automotive sector.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Our union will closely monitor the recruitment process to ensure that Canadian workers are the first to benefit from this historic investment, announced Unifor union president Lana Payne.

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The Stellantis battery plant under construction in Windsor, Ontario, June 19, 2023.

Minister Champagne met with unions on this subject on Friday. He assured them that there would be 2,500 Canadian workers to operate the Ontario plant and 2,300 Canadian workers to build it.

As for foreign workers for the Stellantis project, he mentioned a few hundred workers who would come over a year to take care of the new machinery and equipment.

The minister expressed confidence in the benefits Canadians will derive: This is a generational opportunity. It's one of the largest battery factories that will likely be around for decades to come.

Radio-Canada revealed, at the beginning of the month, that the Quebec government did not require Quebec content for projects in the battery sector, such as Northvolt. For confidentiality reasons, the Canadian government refused to say whether it had imposed a Canadian content obligation in its agreements with companies.

With the collaboration of Louis Blouin

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