Literate Canadians

Well-educated Canadians mean lower training costs, concluded Toyota, which is building a new auto plant in Ontario.

. . . Nissan and Honda have encountered difficulties getting new plants up to full production in recent years in Mississippi and Alabama due to an untrained – and often illiterate – workforce. In Alabama, trainers had to use “pictorials” to teach some illiterate workers how to use high-tech plant equipment.

“The educational level and the skill level of the people down there is so much lower than it is in Ontario,” (Gerry) Fedchun said.

U.S. states had offered much higher subsidies to Toyota but it wasn’t enough.

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  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    On the other hand, the Americans have much higher self esteem.

  2. Glad we could give our whiny and bitter neighbors to the north something else to criticize us with. (Actually, I love Canada the people I’ve met there, I’m just tired of hearing them tell us how bad we are.)

    Couldn’t they have tried to set up a plant in Colorado, or something. Nothing against AL and MS (my wife is from AL), but they aren’t exactly our most literate states.

    Toyota and Honda will be sorry in the long run. Surely the Canadian government will find a way in the long run to punish them for making money.

  3. elfcharm says:

    Not really, steve. As far as I understand it (and I could be, as I often am, wrong) the canadian tax system is much simpler than ours. If anybody is going to make them sorry, it’s going to be the USA.
    Further, please remember, it’s all about the money. Yes, people in colorado may be more literate than people in alabama, but toyota probobly looked at all of these fad education systems and said “screw it!”

    We are perceived as being in a state of educational flux, which in turn makes people less willing to gamble on the future education of people here.

    Ever heard of everyday math?


  4. From the story:

    The factory will cost $800 million to build, with the federal and provincial governments kicking in $125 million of that to help cover research, training and infrastructure costs.

    I wonder how much better educated Colorado and Alabama workers would become if their respective states kicked in more money then the Canadian federal and provincial governments?

    And this:

    In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

    “Most people don’t think of our health-care system as being a competitive advantage,” he said.

    So the Toyota plant gets to dump the costs of medical coverage on the population of Canada. Seems more like a big cost reduction then a superior work force.

    Premier Dalton McGuinty said the money the province and Ottawa are pledging for the project is well-spent. His government has committed $400 million, including the latest Toyota package, to the province’s auto sector, which helped finance $5-billion worth of industry projects.

    The superior education of Canadian workers may be an article of faith with Gerry Fedchun but those are some pretty substantive reasons to locate the plant in Ontario that have nothing at all to do with the Canadian education system.

  5. Mike in Texas says:

    Toyota is currently building a plant outside of San Antonio, Texas. I wonder how much education perceptions really mattered or were tax issues more important?

    I lived in rural Alabama and I can say, based on my experience, I wouldn’t build a plant there. I actually got out as soon as I could. However, the Huntsville area was very nice and the schools were considered excellent.

    I had about 10 people ask me why I wanted to leave Alabama to go to Texas and I told them all the same off color joke, “Because I heard everything was bigger there”. Nine of them didn’t get it.

  6. Half Canadian says:

    RE: Canadian Healthcare

    The Canadian Supreme Court recently ruled that it was unconstitutional to ban private health insurance.
    Ontario has serious waiting lists for health procedures. In three years time, I’d bet that the local auto-unions come knocking for a health care plan that increases the benefits (in addition to prescription and dental, a supplimental plan that offers access to private clinics/hospitals) or a healthcare plan that circumvents the government plan. So the government healthcare is a short-term benefit.

  7. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Don’t worry, pretty soon Chinese cars will have the market.

  8. Set up the plant in Colorado? Sure…

    “All right team, lissen to me, your Fearless Leader. We gotta build extra 3000 cars this month, or I won’t get my $10 million bonus for sports cars and steroids. And let’s torch those towelheads for Jesus. Except you, faggot! I don’t care if you’re the internet guy. I’m gonna rip yer head off with my bare hands, freak. Oooooh! I’m dead! Somewun just broke my node wid a steerin’ weel!”

  9. For a rather different view of things, read about Nissan’s plant in Mississippi.,17863,1060741,00.html

    Nissan apparently felt that the motivation level that can be achieved by people who are getting their first big chance in life outweights any training issues.

  10. Uh, Beeman. I guess we’re not as educated in Colorado as I thought, because I have no idea what you’re talking about. I think you’re insulting Colorado (and capitalism), but I’m too dense to really know. At any rate, let’s try to keep this blog clean and rational. And please write clearly for the simpletons among us who happen to read this site. Thanks.

  11. If we can insult Alabama, we can also insult Colorado with the same fairness. I’m not from either state, but I’ve been to both. My experience of Colorado is vicious (but well-educated and clean-cut) “Cops for Christ” and “Jocks for Jesus” types. Let’s just say I prefer Alabama with its simple humilities, and that’s saying a lot for an urban technophile such as myself. And I love capitalism, honest capitalism. Too bad the pashas running this country don’t.

  12. John Thacker says:

    In addition to lower training costs, Canadian workers are also $4 to $5 cheaper to employ partly thanks to the taxpayer-funded health-care system in Canada, said federal Industry Minister David Emmerson.

    The taxpayer-funded system which is paid for by, umm, higher taxes on the workers. Which means that unless the Canadian workers are also getting wages $4 to $5 an hour higher to pay for the higher taxes, the Canadian workers are getting less real compensation than the Americans would get.