October 15, 2008
John Deere’s last manufacturing facility in Canada, its Welland plant, will close by the end of 2009.

The announcement came in early September, affecting 600 unionized workers, represented by the CAW, and 200 salaried staff members. The company will maintain a management office in nearby Grimsby. A handful of engineers will move to the Grimsby office to provide engineering for its utility vehicle.

The company is the largest private employer in Welland. Founded as the Dain Manufacturing Co., the factory has existed under the John Deere name since 1911.

The Welland plant produced utility vehicles and attachments for commercial and consumer equipment and agricultural equipment. Gator utility vehicles, currently made at Welland, will move to Horicon, Wis. Rotory cutter and loading attachments for tractors will be transferred to Deere’s operations in Monterrey and Saltillo, Mexico.

A company spokesperson explained that the decision came after an internal review revealed the company’s operations had been hurt by the strong Canadian dollar. “Manufacturing in Canada has been financially challenging because most of this product is sold in the U.S.,” said the spokesperson.