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$93 Million boost to manufacturing Oxford County



By Lee Griffi, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

The Ontario government welcomed $93 million in new investments from four Oxford County companies, creating 187 new, good-paying jobs across the region.

The announcement was made at one of Vuteq’s plants in Woodstock last week where an 80,000-square-foot expansion is in the works. The company’s investment of more than $23 million is supported by more than $3 million in provincial support and will create 17 new jobs.

“It’s one of the biggest we have had in 35 years we have been in business here. In addition to expanding our building, we will be adding a lot of new equipment including four large electric molding machines,” explained Ezio Andreola, President of Vuteq Canada.

“The expansion will also facilitate layout improvements we’d like to make to become a little more efficient,” he added. “We will also further implement AMRs or autonomous mobile robot technology in our plant.” 

Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman said the Japanese-owned company believes in the quality of products produced in Woodstock. He also gave much of the credit to Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. He added the investments will boost the local economy.

“These investments from our local manufacturers continue to support the thousands of good-paying jobs in our community. Thank you for all the investments that made it happen.”

“Oxford County has a long history of manufacturing excellence, and thanks to continued investments in the region, that legacy will continue,” said Fedeli. “As we position Ontario as one of the top jurisdictions in the world for companies to invest and grow, our government is proud to support local businesses as they expand and create new jobs in communities across the province.”

Through Ontario's Regional Development Program, the province is investing $11.4 million to support the four companies. The Vuteq project is receiving by $5 million in funding through the RDP and will create 145 new jobs.

Other Oxford County recipients include:

  • Trans-Mit Steel Inc., a subsidiary of Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.) Inc., specializes in the precision slitting of thin gauge steel products, primarily used for electric vehicle motors and power and distribution transformers. Their investment of more than $23 million to expand their Woodstock facility is supported by more than $3 million in funding through the RDP and will create 17 new jobs.

  • Armtec Inc. manufactures a range of infrastructure products and engineered construction solutions across industries like agriculture, infrastructure, and construction. Armtec will invest over $27 million to construct a new manufacturing facility in Tillsonburg. The project is supported by close to $3 million in funding through the RDP and will create nine new jobs.

  • MTO Metal Products Ltd. designs and manufactures custom metal parts for the forestry, manufacturing, construction and supply chain material handling sectors. The company has invested $2.5 million in new advanced manufacturing equipment at their Woodstock facility, supported by more than $386,000 in funding through the Advanced Manufacturing and Innovation Competitiveness stream of the RDP, creating 16 new jobs.

Ontario is investing $160 million through its Regional Development Program to help manufacturers across the province grow while supporting distinct regional priorities. Up to $500 thousand of each company’s loan could be forgivable. Vuteq, like many other organizations, has had difficulty finding staff to fill open positions but Andreola said they have seen quite a bit of an improvement.

“Just like every industry during the pandemic, it was a pretty tough time for hiring team members but in the last year or so we have been successfully able to recruit and retain employees. We do a lot of promotion with our team members and have seen a big improvement.”

Fideli spends a great deal of time travelling the province to make announcements and meet with industry leaders. He added the employment landscape has changed across Ontario.

“A year ago and before that topic number one was we can’t find people. As we have seen hundreds of millions of dollars in government investment in the Skills Development Fund, it’s really tapering off nicely. It has moved from the front of the line to the second or third conversation.”

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