WINDSOR, ONT. -- FCA Canada and Unifor opened 2020 contract talks during a Toronto event Wednesday marking the official start of bargaining.

FCA Canada head of human resources Jacqueline Olivia and Unifor National president Jerry Dias opened the talks with a document exchange at a ceremony at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto.

“FCA remains committed to Canada and we look forward to negotiating a fair agreement that will help us continue to invest in our future, while creating opportunities for our employees, their families and our communities,” Oliva said in a news release from FCA. “We have the largest hourly workforce and, in 2019, FCA Canada produced the most vehicles of the domestic three automakers. As the automotive industry continues to rapidly change, our goal in this round of negotiations is to reach a labour agreement that will sustain the Company’s competitiveness.”

FCA Canada was founded as the Chrysler Corporation in 1925 and is celebrating its 95th anniversary this year. In addition to the Windsor Assembly Plant which produces the Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, Chrysler Voyager and Chrysler Grand Caravan, the company has another plant in Brampton and an aluminum casting plant in Etobicoke as well as a research and development centre in Windsor.

The document exchange replaced the traditional handshake in order to follow physical distancing protocols given the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the release states much of the traditional face-to-face negotiations will take place virtually in order to protect the health and safety of the bargaining teams.