Federal government loans $6.3M to Windsor manufacturing, creating 80 jobs

·2 min read

After experiencing extremely high levels of unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, Windsor-Essex can look forward to some job growth, after the federal government announced loans that would support 80 jobs in the local manufacturing sector.

According to a news release Monday, four local manufacturing companies will split $6.3 million: Pancap Pharma Inc., Crop Defenders Ltd., Hawk Plastics Ltd., and Whitfield Group. The money each group receives must be repaid.

"Windsor-Essex is home to many manufacturers that are diversifying the regional economy — from traditional and innovative automotive parts, to new drug therapies, to agricultural solutions and beyond. However, the COVID-19 crisis has had unprecedented repercussions on this key sector of Ontario's industry," states the news release.

In May, Windsor's unemployment rate hit 16.7 per cent — the highest rate among major Canadian cities. Manufacturing was listed as one of the hardest hit sectors.

"This FedDev Ontario investment will help the Windsor-Essex community further develop its network of incredible talent and leading-edge innovation in the evolving manufacturing sector. These businesses have the capacity to manufacture products for a wide range of sectors, from automotive to life sciences to agri-food, which are diversifying the regional economy," Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said in a news release.

How will they spend the money?

Pancap Pharma Inc. (Pancap) produces pancreatic enzyme products to treat pancreatic issues that result from cystic firbosis, chronic pancreatitis and other pancreatic diseases. Pancap has a new 50,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Windsor. They are receiving a $3.5 million loan and will use it to bring 50 new workers on board.

Crop Defenders Ltd. produces biological pest control solutions to protect against aphids, greenhouse vegetable pest. FedDev Ontario is loaning $899,000 so that Crop Defenders can expand its facility, get new equipment and scale-up operations to mass-produce one of its pest controls. The loan they receive will also add 10 full-time jobs to the company.

Hawk Plastics Ltd. creates injection molded custom plastic parts mainly for the automotive sector. The company will borrow $880,372 of FedDev Ontario money to expand its production facility by 8,000 square feet to bring in new equipment. The funding will also create 10 new manufacturing positions and maintain 20 in Tecumseh.

Lastly, Whitfield Group is a company that provides repairs, engineering changes, hard facing and laser heat treatment of plastic injection, die cast and stamping tools for the automotive sector. They are receiving a $1 million loan and will use it to get new production equipment and create 10 new manufacturing positions and nine in Oldcastle.

The money was announced by the federal government's Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario Mélanie Joly, along with Kusmierczyk.