Posted On: Friday, August 18, 2017
News Aug 17, 2017 04:00 by John Edwards, Collingwood Connection
Pilkington Glass plant manager Brian Hammond stands with Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth as a provincial grant for the Collingwood plant is announced Aug. 15. - John Edwards/Metroland.
A Collingwood manufacturer has received a major boost from the provincial government.
Barrie MPP Ann Hoggarth, representing Minister of Small Business Jeff Leal, announced a $436,000 grant for Pilkington Glass in Collingwood on Aug. 15, as part of the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund.
Pilkington has been in Collingwood for nearly 50 years and is the only manufacturer of windshields remaining in Canada. The company employs about 250 people.The money will allow the company to expand its lamination department adding new lines and adding more than 60 jobs.
The $4-million project will allow the company to increase the number of windshields it produces from 1.8 million to 2.6 million. Pilkington makes windshields for Honda, Toyota, GM, Chrysler and Nissan, as well as the retail after market.
“We had three major furnaces in the plant and we were running out of capacity to grow on the lamination side; we invested and launched a line in the last 18 months,” said plant manager Brian Hammond. “You don’t typically see growth in the automotive industry in Ontario like we’ve seen, so it’s very exciting.”
Hoggarth said this is great news for Collingwood and the region.
“It’s terrific news for the County of Simcoe, the Town of Collingwood and for Ontario,” she said. “It’s a great example of what can be accomplished when industry and government work together.”
Hammond said the company has gone through ups and downs but has developed efficiencies and improved health and safety, and increased customer base.
“The auto business in southern Ontario has gone through a tremendous amount of change,” he said. “Most of us have lived through the downturn in 2008 and 2009 and we had struggles like everyone else did. We have turned a situation from a very lean and very bleak time into a very prosperous time.”
Since 2013, the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund and Eastern Ontario Development Fund have helped to create and retain approximately 40,600 jobs and attracted approximately $2 billion in investment. The funds cover up to 15 per cent of eligible project costs, with the recipient company funding the remainder from its own resources.