What does GM’s imminent collapse mean for Ontario? - The Intrepid

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What does GM’s imminent collapse mean for Ontario?

Junkyard Rusting Cars
Nothing good. The Ontario manufacturing section is already bleeding tens of thousands of jobs a month. If GM files for bankruptcy, it will cripple Southwestern Ontario.

Currently, the Ontario automotive sector accounts for 20% of the province’s manufacturing employment. Together, the big three, GM, Ford, and Chrysler, employ 181,000 people in Ontario. If these jobs are lost, cities like Oshawa, Windsor, and London are in big trouble. The auto industry is a lot more than just these jobs. Hundreds of thousands of people are also employed by parts manufacturers that serve the big automotive companies. If the big three go under, they will too.

Friday morning, mayors of 22 Ontario cities met to discuss the industry’s status.

“There is no time to wait,” said London Mayor Ann Marie DeCicco. “We have to move now to save jobs in the automotive industry, we need to fight for this. We have to be loud and if we do not do this now, it will be too late.”

At the meeting, the mayors agreed to jointly lobby the Ontario and Federal governments for an automotive bailout package.

“We are calling on the federal and provincial governments to do all in their power to get funding in place,” Peter White, chief executive of the London Economic Development Corp. “If the automakers go into bankruptcy, it will be catastrophic.”

If the big three collapse, the fallout will cascade throughout the Ontario economy. While no one has crunched the figures yet, estimates suggest that up to 400,000 jobs might be lost if the automotive sector goes under.

A collapse would also have a devastating effect on the Ontario government’s budget, and city budgets across the province. Without the automotive sector, tax incomes will plummet. To adjust, the province and cities will have to cut services, resulting in further job losses.

The big three’s problems are largely of their own making. Although it may seem pointless to give these failed companies money, the consequences of letting them fail are far too grave.

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