Ontario State is providing automotive supplier, Formet Industries in St. Thomas with C$1m (US$0.8m) to develop new products and grow its business, creating 66 new jobs and retaining more than 1,300 positions.

The backing is from the Southwestern Ontario Development Fund for Formet's collaboration on the development of automotive structural components.

The strength and safety parts will be supplied to an unnamed automaker with operations in Ontario. The project investment exceeds C$23m, with completion by the end of 2018.

Formet is a manufacturing division of Cosma International, which in turn is part of Magna.

"Ontario's broad-based supply chain is a key strength as the province competes globally for new auto assembly investment," said Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, Brad Duguid.

"This project with Formet targets the skills we're working with the industry to develop — using the advanced production processes and lightweight materials required for the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles."

The Southwestern Ontario Development Fund is modelled on the Eastern Ontario Development Fund. Together these two operations have helped to create and retain more than 41,000 jobs, as well as attract more than C$1.8bn in investment.

The funds typically cover up to 15% of eligible project costs, with the recipient company funding the remainder from its own resources.