Financial assistance from the Canadian government, as well as a new contract with the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, have enabled International Truck and Engine Corp. to keep its Chatham, Ont., heavy truck assembly plant open

Plans to close the plant were announced in October of last year. However, the original closing date, July 18, 2003, had been extended while International continued discussions with Canadian agencies in an effort to create a financial package that would allow it to keep the plant open.

The Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario are together providing up to $45 million toward International's 10-year, $189-million program for modernization of the plant.

The amended contract agreed to by the CAW last spring will provide $31 million in cost savings. It runs through Jan. 31, 2007.