Jerry on the job

How the president of Canada’s largest union, Jerry Dias, is driving the country’s electric vehicle push

“Jerry, I would never accuse you of owning a Tesla,” I say with a wink.

“That’s a fact,” barks Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, which represents workers in Canada’s automotive assembly sector.

Dias doesn’t drive an electric vehicle but is quick to add, “I will get one when my members build one.”

That day is approaching.

This past fall, Dias and his team finalized agreements to bring EV production to Oakville and Windsor, Ontario. In a wide-ranging interview, the head of the country’s largest private-sector union tells me how he lobbied key players to secure deals worth $1.95 billion at Ford and up to $1.58 billion at Fiat Chrysler.

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The man of wind, water and sun

Go-to lawyer for renewable economy is driving EV push at old GM plant

An activist and environmentalist, Toronto lawyer Brian Iler has been the creative legal mind behind a host of cutting-edge renewable energy projects, social ventures and co-ops that have challenged received wisdom.

It turns out he’s also a sailor.

Sitting in the book-lined boardroom of his Queen West office, we’re meeting to discuss his recent environmental ventures. The conversation turns to teen climate activist Greta Thunberg and her crossing of the Atlantic, on her return to Europe from North America in November. It’s hard not to be impressed by his nautical knowledge.

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Industry and nature make peace at former home of North America’s largest coal plant

Visiting Nanticoke Solar feels like an encounter with the age of coal at the very moment of its unravelling

Touring the grounds of the now mothballed Nanticoke Generating Station in southwestern Ontario, I didn't expect to see wildlife. The site once housed North America's largest coal-fired power plant. But as of March, it's been officially transformed. It's now home to a solar energy facility.

As our truck bumped along a gravel path above the former powerhouse, I spotted what looked like a derelict car tire. We stopped the vehicle and got out. It was an adult snapping turtle. Perhaps 30 centimetres in diameter, this was no wee pet shop critter. It snapped open its eagle beak, hissing at us. We were travelling with staffers from Ontario Power Generation, the solar project’s largest equity partner. One of them grabbed the back of the reptile’s oval shell, gently lifted it, and carried it to the side of the road.

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Canadian solar inventor says solar panels ‘almost cheaper than plywood’

JP Morgan says innovations have made solar power dirt cheap. The challenge now is getting politicians to understand this.

John Paul Morgan is showing me around his solar panel factory in Toronto’s Stockyards District, once famous for its slaughterhouses. Meat-packers still operate here, but the area is witnessing the growth of craft brewers and high-tech firms. In this neighbourhood of transition, we’re discussing the nature of invention.

Morgan, who studied engineering physics and applied science at the University of Toronto, began his work at an Ottawa telecom giant. His assignment: exploratory research in fibre optics.

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