How Canada is quietly retooling its auto industry

Factory closures and job cuts get the headlines, but technology is driving an evolution of Canada’s auto sector as employers compete for highly skilled workers to support expanding research-and-development efforts into the car of the future.

“We are interviewing every day,” said Sara LeBlanc, director of General Motors’ three Canadian tech centres, which routinely have 30-plus open positions.

General Motors needs specialists in active-safety and driver-assist technology. Ford is looking for software developers for its “rapidly growing” vehicle-analytics framework.

Apple, not a company associated with the auto industry, seeks software engineers with “strong problem-solving and debugging skills” for its secretive work on self-driving systems.

The Detroit Three are the most visible players in the tech shift, even if their r&d hiring pales next to production-line layoffs as vehicle output in Canada continues to fall.