Ted Arnott, MPP
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2013
MPP Arnott goes to bat again for A.O. Smith workers
(Queen’s Park) – Why did it take more than 5 months for the Ontario Government to open an Action
Centre in Fergus to support laid-off A.O. Smith workers?
That is the question that Wellington-Halton Hills MPP Ted Arnott put to the Minister of Training,
Colleges, and Universities in the Ontario Legislature during Question Period on September 25.
“More than 5 months ago, we learned that the A.O. Smith plant in Fergus would cease
manufacturing, putting 350 people out of work. I called upon the Government to help our community
with training and economic development support,” Mr. Arnott reminded the Legislature. “In
response, the Government promised an Action Centre to support the displaced workers and help
them find jobs.”
“Will the Minister explain to this House why it took him more than 5 months to open an Action Centre
to help these A.O. Smith workers?” Mr. Arnott asked.
Mr. Arnott believes that the Minister could have ensured that the Action Centre was open sooner.
“When someone loses their job, many can’t afford to wait more than 5 months before they start
looking for a new one,” Mr. Arnott said after Question Period. “They need help immediately.”
“I appreciate the great work that’s been done by our community partners,” Mr. Arnott added. “But
we need more support from the Ontario Government than we’ve received to date. I want to push
them to do more to support our community and our affected families.”
Mr. Arnott also reminded the Government that as early as 2005 – more than 8 years ago, before the
recession – he had brought forward a resolution in the Legislature calling on the Liberal Government
to have an all-party committee of the Legislature investigation Ontario’s industrial competitiveness in
order to develop an action plan to protect manufacturing jobs in the province. Although the
resolution passed the Legislature, the Government steadfastly refused to allow the hearings to take
(Editor: Attached is the prepared text of Mr. Arnott’s Questions to the Minister of Training, Colleges,
and Universities in the Ontario Legislature, September 25, 2013. When the final Hansard is
available tomorrow we will email it to you.)
– 30 –
Ontario Hansard – 25-September2013
Mr. Ted Arnott: My question is for the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. More than five
months ago, we learned that the A.O. Smith plant in Fergus would cease manufacturing, putting 350
people out of work. I called upon the government to help our community with training and economic
development support. In response, the government promised an action centre to support the displaced
workers and help them find jobs. That action centre is having an open house today.
Will the minister explain to this House why it took him more than five months to open an action centre to
help these A.O. Smith workers?
Hon. Brad Duguid: I’m happy to. We respond within a matter of hours when these layoff notices are
given. We respond by contacting the municipality, and we did in that case; we’ve been working very
closely with the mayor and the municipality. We respond by contacting the employer. We respond by
contacting the workers and their representatives. We don’t take unilateral action and step on the toes of all
of the other people in those local communities; we work with them.
There are times when our intentions or our offers to set up things like an action centre are taken into
consideration by those on the ground locally and implemented at the time that meets their needs. That’s
the case here. We’re always there. We’re always available. We’re always ready to respond. We’ll work
with that community as best we can to respond to this challenge.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary.
Mr. Ted Arnott: Minister, don’t you dare blame my constituents for your own delays. That is totally
In 2005, eight years ago and before the recession hit, I called upon the Liberal government to have an all-
party committee of this Legislature investigate our industrial competitiveness with a view to developing
an action plan to protect manufacturing jobs in the province. The Liberals’ inaction and indifference have
directly contributed to the loss of 300,000 manufacturing jobs in this province. Even when a plant like
A.O. Smith closes, displaced workers wait more than five months for the support that they need.
The Premier now says that she will focus on job creation and the economy. In light of their disastrous
record on jobs, how can the people of Ontario see any light at the end of the tunnel as long as these
Liberals remain in power?
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please.
Hon. Brad Duguid: Minister of Economic Development.
Hon. Eric Hoskins: I, in fact, take offence to what the member opposite just-
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I think we’ve started shouting people down again.
Mr. John Yakabuski: He was shouting at us, Speaker.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): I will talk to the member from Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke in a calm
manner and tell him that this is not enough.
Hon. Eric Hoskins: I think I have to repeat that I take offence at what the member opposite has just said,
because he knows well the number of conversations that the two of us have had, not just specifically
about A.O. Smith, but also the efforts that I’ve been making in terms of meeting repeatedly with the local
leadership, with the businesses in the area. I’ve been working hard with the Southwestern Ontario
Development Fund. In fact, we’ve made a number of announcements that directly and positively impact
the people in the area and the people who are affected by the closure of the Fergus plant. I met with
AMO; I met with the local leadership as well.
I think he should talk to the mayor, because she is quite satisfied with the efforts that this government is
making to address the issues with A.O. Smith as well as the job opportunities and job challenges that are
faced by the local leadership there.
He knows well the efforts that I’ve been making and the announcements that we’re hoping will come
forward in the foreseeable future that will benefit the people of that important part of the province.
The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Be seated, please. Thank you.