CAMBRIDGE, Ont. — The federal and provincial governments have teamed up to provide about $100 million to help expand Toyota’s manufacturing operations in southern Ontario.

The money will go towards the automaker’s planned $421-million investment at plants in Cambridge and Woodstock.

Ottawa’s contribution will be a repayable loan of $59 million—about 14 per cent of the cost of the project—while the Ontario government is kicking in a grant of $42.1 million, or 10 per cent.

“Over the past three years, we have invested more than $1 billion in capital expenditures at our Canadian manufacturing facilities,” says Brian Krinock, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc.

Gary Goodyear, minister of state responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, made the joint announcement with Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid in Cambridge.

“Today’s announcement will create future jobs in the Ontario automotive industry and will maintain Toyota’s existing employment levels at its Cambridge and Woodstock plants,” Goodyear said. Toyota employs 8,000 workers at its Ontario operations.

The money will go towards a new metal stamping line at the Woodstock plant, which will double capacity and increase productivity in a range of high-grade steels and lightweight alloys. The investment will not only reduce the need to import parts, but will also enable Toyota’s Ontario operations to begin exporting to their U.S. plants.

Equipment and technology upgrades at the Cambridge plant will prepare the facility to produce the next generation of Lexus vehicles. For the first time outside of Japan, Toyota’s specialized welding technology will be used.

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. has three plants in southwestern Ontario, with two in Cambridge that produce the Corolla sedan and the RX350 and RX450h, and one in nearby Woodstock producing the RAV4 SUV.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation called the government funding a “cruel joke on taxpayers.”

“Toyota is one of the world’s most successful corporations, with a global profit of more than US$18 billion last year,” said CTF federal director Aaron Wudrick.

“Why on earth are our governments handing them a hundred million dollars from the public purse? Will any of them say with a straight face that Toyota needs this money?”

Last fall, Ontario provided an $85.7-million loan to help with Honda’s $857 million expansion of its manufacturing facilities in Alliston, north of Toronto.