Autoworker Nick Dimitriou is about to receive a $10,000 signing bonus as part of the latest contract with Stellantis. But he's not spending it all. He and some other co-workers have gotten together and agreed to help sponsor a family of 10 for Christmas.
He will generously give a fifth of that bonus to the family.
He says his co-workers are planning on doing a variety of things with the money.
"There's TFSA [Tax Free Savings Account] options for people that are more the banking type that are in that kind of position in life," said Dimitriou.
"Others have children that they want to splurge a little bit with, could be a vacation around the corner for some people. It could be some home projects that they need to finish."
Dimitriou is among thousands of workers in Windsor-Essex set to receive bonuses of up to $10,000 negotiated as part of new contracts with the Detroit Three automakers. The bonuses will inject cash into the region's economy ahead of the holidays.
Ford workers received their cheques on Oct. 12. Stellantis workers should receive their cheques no later than Dec. 8. Workers have the option of taking the money or directing it to a group Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP).
June Muir, the President of the Windsor Essex County Food Bank Association, is heartened by the hope that more generosity will flow to charities.
"It is going to provide hope to food banks and many families that during this Christmas season the donations hopefully will increase," said Muir.
Dan Orman, the co-owner of clothing store Freeds, is also hoping retailers will benefit from the sharing of the wealth.
"The uncertainty of the automotive industry in the city always has an effect on retail, and when you get a positive money infusion into our city, it always helps and always brings business to our store," said Orman.
Rakesh Naidu, the president of the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, said the increased spending this Christmas will also translate into jobs.
Nick Dimitriou is a 28-year veteran autoworker at Stellantis (Dale Molnar/CBC News)
"The more people are shopping locally, the more they're supporting local businesses, the more it helps the business, the economy, but also creates more jobs locally," said Naidu.
Autoworker Michelle Grenier will likely spend some money this Christmas, but she is also going to pay down debt.
"I would like to personally take care of my credit card, a line of credit that I have out. But I also have plans to give a big chunk back to my parents as well," said Grenier.
Financial Planner Barry Fowler said paying off high interest debt is a good idea, but he says if they have debt that is around two per cent interest, people are better off investing in a Guaranteed Investment Certificate (GIC).
"You can get five per cent interest in GICs now," said Fowler.
He said whether a worker invests in a Tax Free Savings Account or an RRSP can depend on a lot of factors and it's best to get professional advice.