Unifor, the union representing workers at De Havilland Canada are calling on the company to find a new place in the Greater Toronto to build the Q400. De Havilland has already started dismantling the factory at Downsview and it’s almost certain to be moved to Calgary once the last Q400 on the order backlog is finished. The company’s lease on the factory is up in two years. Bombardier sold it to a pension investment fund three years ago and then sold the Q400 business to Longview Aviation Capital Corp. which also owns Viking Air. The company has a Twin Otter factory in Calgary and there is lots of room for expansion at the Calgary Airport.
Since De Havilland doesn’t have any new orders for the Q400 at the moment, Unifor President Jerry Dias, who worked at Downsview 40 years ago on earlier Dash models, said the union doesn’t have much leverage. So it’s appealing for public support to keep future Q400 production in Toronto with the “No Dash, No Deal” posture for negotiations. Even Premier Doug Ford appears to think it’s a stretch. “All of a sudden this big billionaire comes along and says, ‘I’m taking (Dash 8 production) out of Toronto, and taking it out of Ontario, and we’re shipping it to another province’ just because the billionaire lives in that province,’” Ford told reporters. The normally pro-billionaire premier was referring to Sherry Brydson, daughter of the late Ken Thomson, who headed up the Thomson newspaper and business empire.