By on November 25, 2018

CTV News in Canada is reporting that General Motors is shutting the doors at its Oshawa, Ontario assembly plant.

The plant, located about 37 miles (60 kilometers or so) east of Toronto, hosts about 2,500 union jobs and around 300 salaried jobs. GM has other employees in the Ontario cities of Ingersoll, Markham, and St. Catharines, but it’s not clear if any jobs in those areas will be affected. The population of Oshawa is around 159,000.

General Motors has had as many as 40,000 employees working in and around Oshawa in the past, though employment levels dwindled in the recent past.

The closure is expected to be part of a larger, global restructuring by GM. Reports on social media suggest that restructuring tied to the development of zero emission and autonomous vehicles will affect plants in other countries, and that Oshawa will remain open until the end of 2019.

That may or may not be the case. There could be other factors at play, such as the cost of Canadian labor, changes to free-trade agreements, and corporate efforts to streamline production.

Oshawa may also simply not be needed. There’s not much product being built there now, with nothing obvious on the horizon.

An announcement is expected Monday.

Oshawa’s outgoing mayor, John Henry, hopes the report is incorrect. He told CTV Toronto’s Miranda Anthistle that he’s “hoping it’s just a rumor.”

Oshawa currently builds the Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala and performs final assembly of the old-generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. The list of vehicles once built there is long, with the most notable being the Chevrolet Camaro, assembled north of the border until 2015. The Buick Regal and Chevrolet Equinox were built there as recently as 2017.

“My entire family has worked at General Motors,” Henry told CTV. “My dad was a foreman in the plant. I have two brothers in the plant. My sister worked there in university. I worked there as a contractor.”

“It’s very different now than when I was growing up, when everyone you knew was working in the plant,” he said. “We’ve diversified and we have a lot of other things going on,” he added. “But the car industry is still a big part of our community.”

This story is developing and details are scarce – we’ll have a fuller report tomorrow once GM has made its announcement.

Hat tip to commenter Mikey!

[Image: GM]

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56 Comments on “Report: GM to Close Oshawa Operations...”


  • avatar
    John

    Sad indeed to see this happen, but don’t think that GM’S position is unique, so unless the current Canadian Premier does something to make Canada more friendly to manufacturing, Canada might go the same as California, just a tech, financial, entertainment and service based economy.

    • 0 avatar
      WalterRohrl

      They still build Teslas in California so there’s that, in an old GM plant which is somewhat ironic. In any case, the GDP of California is significantly larger than the GDP of Canada ($2.75T vs $1.65T) with similar populations (within 10%) so your idea might not be all bad.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Does the typical Tesla sell for the same price as a Chevy Impala? Furthermore, are there government subsidies that artificially support the products produced in Oshawa? Yeah? Then your point is totally valid.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @John Taurus: “are there government subsidies that artificially support the products produced in Oshawa?”

          Actually, I believe there were.

        • 0 avatar
          WalterRohrl

          @JohnTaurus – As usual I have no clue what you are trying to get at. John (the first comment) implied that Cali has no manufacturing which is obviously incorrect, it manufactures cars! – Every single Tesla is produced in the state that most here always go on about being the least amenable state in the union to actually producing anything.

          The second part of my statement referred to exactly that, that for all the pearl clutching about how CA sucks to do business in etc, they still manage to do more of it that any other state in the country as well as almost every other whole country in the world.

          And yeah of course the GM plant has gotten plenty of benefits from the Province.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            Walter, if your point is about how good CA is for business, can you explain why so many CA based companies decide to expand outside the state? Why Toyota and Nissan relocated their NA hq outside of CA? Not being honest about this isn’t helping CA… it’s just wallpapering over one of the state’s biggest problems.

            CA is hostile to business. You’re free to believe otherwise but it doesn’t take much to see you’re wrong.

          • 0 avatar
            afedaken

            Doing business in CA is almost mandatory. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach sees to that. I’ll betcha at least half of business done in the US has CA nexus for tax purposes.

            Whether you’d wanna HQ there or manufacture there though? That’s more open to debate. Delaware, Texas, and a host of other southern jurisdictions have some pretty compelling arguments as to why you might want to drop a plant down.

        • 0 avatar
          Brett Woods

          Over last ten years, the government subsidy paid to GM was the equivalent of $389,000 per year for every factory job in Oshawa.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      John, didn’t we already discuss this issue at length some time ago? So, who didn’t see this coming?

      During President Trump, jobs will be brought back to the US, and it doesn’t matter what rationale is used to describe closing operations outside of the US. Any reason given will do since operations will still be closing, one way or another.

      If President Trump gets re-elected, and I hope he does, it’s Katie-bar-the-door because he will be going hog-wild during his second term, Keeping America Great! He’s done GREAT for many Americans who felt repressed by the last administration.

      So far this guy has made promises and kept them. The UAW has got to be doing cartwheels over this news.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        @ HDC ..Yes indeed…Love him, or hate him, you folks have a leader. We have a good looking little boy, with a great last name…He has pretty will killed the Canadian oil industry, and now the he’s working of whats left of our industrial industry.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          mikey, you shouldn’t be too hard on your Prime Minister because he is doing exactly what his constituents elected him to do. That’s why he won!

          Americans and Canadians always get exactly what they deserve, because we VOTE for it!

          Nobody saw President Trump coming. According to US media, Candidate Trump didn’t have a snowball’s chance in Hell to get elected. It was going to be a shoe-in for Hilary Clinton.

          I didn’t vote for Trump but I’m glad he got elected because if Trump had lost, it would have been a continuation of the policies of the last, failed administration for the US.

          Americans should enjoy these good times with Trump before the ‘crats will get back into office and totally fvck away America’s booming economy, like they did under the last ‘crat in the White House.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            To quote Winston Churchill . The best argument against democracy, would be a five minute chat with the average voter.

          • 0 avatar
            jkross22

            hdc, Please knock off this garbage you keep peddling. This isn’t about the 2016 US election… it’s about GM closing plants in Canada.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            jkcross22, not garbage. Harsh reality.

            And yes, it hurts a huge number of people OUTSIDE of the US, just like American’s job losses in the past decades has hurt a huge number of Americans inside the US when the jobs left.

            The shoe is on the other foot now. It’s painful for the people who will be unemployed, and for the local economies that will detriorate like Detroit has.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Just so we’re clear, where’s Doug “Open For Business” Ford’s emergency midnight sessions to try and keep GM here? Or is the governance of Toronto the only thing important enough to justify severe action from him?

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Just so we’re clear.. Oshawa is just one of the three GM plants closing.

          • 0 avatar
            Maymar

            So you’re fine blaming this on Trudeau, but once there’s the suggestion that maybe Ford isn’t really “for the people,” things aren’t that bad?

            Also, already forgot that there were closures under Harper? If this is a failure, it’s a bipartisan failure.

      • 0 avatar
        Asdf

        GM is more likely to move jobs and manufacturing to China than to the US.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        You must be in a recreational marijuana state if you think these jobs are going anywhere but Mexico or China.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        @HDC: GM also announces multiple plant closings in the USA. So a case of premature declaration in your pro-Trump hyperbole. And zero announcements of any plant closings in Mexico or Asia.

        So no blame to Trudeau and no credit to Trump. These decisions are based on market conditions and GM’s decade long managerial/executive incompetence.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Arthur Dailey, we shall see what we shall see.

          During the last discussion on this topic many of ttac’s B&B emphatically stated that Oshawa would NEVER close. But here we are, as if there was ever any doubt in a reasonably prudent person’s mind.

          The thrust and push behind the Trump presidency is to return jobs back to America. And he’s done a better job so far than the last 4 presidencies, combined. Sure, there may be jobs that will go to China and elsewhere to fill specific needs in those locations.

          But President Trump has done such a great job in fact, that America doesn’t have enough LEGAL, documented worker bees to fill the job vacancies. Millions upon millions of American jobs go unfilled as it is, even today.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      We have a prime Minister of Canada, and a Premier of the province of Ontario (where Oshawa is located). To which one are you referring? Different political parties. The difference between a state governor and the prez in the US.

      Making a place more “business-friendly” is a polite way of saying that more money should be flowing up from the peons into the already rich’s pockets. Like that cluster***k where Amazon got municipalities and state governments to buy them new distribution centers. Socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. Macron in France has raised diesel prices 42% this year, sparking a riot or three because as Baruth used to ruminate, the poor need to get to work too.

      GM sells 400,000 vehicles a year in Canada. Too bad it can’t support the economy in which it flogs its cars, unless that’s China or the US or a colony like Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        star_gazer

        @ conundrum:
        Perhaps you or mikey can answer this: Since Canadians have provided health care, why would GM close Oshawa? I was under the impression that, since health care was provided, industry would have an cost advantage in Canada. What am I missing?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          Heath care in Canada ?? Hmmm ..? On the surface, one may think it would be a “cost advantage ” I would need to think that “health care costs” would be one of the many factors that GM considered?

          Obviously it certainly wasn’t enough to sway their decision.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        “GM sells 400,000 vehicles a year in Canada. Too bad it can’t support the economy in which it flogs its cars”

        Didnt know this was the only GM operation in Canada. Oh, wait, it most certainly is not.
        But, since when have pesky things like facts interfered with your comments?

        • 0 avatar
          mikey

          ..With Oshawa gone , that leaves the CAMI as the only GM vehicle manufacturing facility operating ..The timing hasn’t been announced yet but CAMI work is scheduled to head to Mexico.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            The governments of Canada and Ontario contributed over $5 billion to the GM bailout. They received GM stock in return. They recently sold this stock. If they had retained it, and their seat on the Board of Directors, perhaps they could have prevented this.

            The new Free Trade agreement actually increased the number of vehicles that could be exported from Canada to the USA duty free. So the POTUS did not create this scenario.

            Universal healthcare was/is indeed a major cost savings for GM. However in their latest American agreement they shed the cost of healthcare for their American retirees, so the costs savings in Canada were greatly decreased. Perhaps Obamacare also decreased their healthcare costs in the USA, for temporary/casual employees? I am hoping that someone can explain that.

            Electrical costs in Ontario are much higher than in the USA. Yet we export and sell electricity to the USA for lower rates/prices than we pay. Part of some old, very bad contracts/negotiations on the part of various Canadian governments.

            There is little product suitable for Oshawa. It is not cost effective to manufacture small/low cost vehicles in Oshawa. Passenger sedans are a dying market. Currently pick-up parts are being shipped from the USA to Canada for assembly. Not a cost effective process. And indicative that this move had been contemplated for a few years. Perhaps waiting for the Canadian/Ontario governments to sell their stock?

  • avatar
    mikey

    ..I heard this news about 5:30 PM today..I spent 36+ years punching the clock at GM Oshawa . The writing has been” on the wall” for years . Most of us knew, “it was just a matter of time ”

    BTW Mr Healey, I gave TTAC the tip ..3 hours ago..Would of hurt to give a long time TTAC er , a little recognition for the tip ?

  • avatar
    mikey

    Unifor Has already been informed ..My educated guess says “this is a done deal “

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Didn’t Ontario recently (’16 or ’17) give a huge corporate welfare tax incentive to GM in order to keep Oshawa open? A lot of good that did.

  • avatar
    mikey

    We were told in 2009, that we (the CAW at that time) will accept the deal offered by GM, the Canadian, and the Ontario government, or GM will close Oshawa. GM agreed,that as part of the bail out agreement would include that 16% of GM production will remain in Canada.

    That deal expired in 2016.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do believe Canada will be better off shoring these subsidised jobs.

    What benefit will the US receive from this and the way in which the job were lost?

    The upside for Canada is the money ploughed into the Canadian vehicle manufacturing sector can be used in industries that are profitable, generating a positive flow on the economy and not a drag.

    The US will soon find out that their vehicle prices will rise and less vehicles sold.

    Maybe it’s about time Canada becomes a signatory to the global vehicle harmonisation treaty and leave the US on it’s own, floundering.

  • avatar
    mikey

    Big Al …Perhaps your right ? Lets not forget that Canada is is not in the same position as the rest of the world. The economies of Canada and the USA are incredibly intertwined. As much as we like to think of ourselves as a sovereign nation,we are essentially the 51st state.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    A GM plant closure has been rumoured long before Trump. Interestingly, GM’s Ontario plants scored consistently higher for quality and fewer defects than its US plants over a period of decades.

  • avatar

    at General Motors, the results don’t change, only the excuses.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    How many plants did Carlos Goshen close while running two mediocre car companies in a ‘dynamic’ global market? Maybe Justin Castreau and Donald Trump aren’t the leaders who failed GM’s employees.

  • avatar

    Do you really believe GM is better than Nissan. Nissan is tied with Toyota as the world’s largest car company.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Hitler/Stalin argument.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        That’s a bit strong! I don’t have much use for either of their products, but I wouldn’t compare them to historical socialists! What I will say is that Carlos Goshen is a better CEO than Mary Barra, and he will still be better for Nissan and Renault than Mary is for GM if he is rotting in a jail cell.

  • avatar
    MoDo

    When was the last time you saw an Impala or Caddy XTS? I have a feeling GM is the latest one to turf sedans and that’s all this is. Thing is, they already build plenty of CUV’s and SUV’s so the plant simply isn’t needed. It’s also supposed to be part of a larger “global operations” so we’ll have to wait and see.

  • avatar
    mikey

    @MoDo ..Right nobody buys the Caddy, and the Impala is also run in Michigan..

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Yes the Impala is only overflow production, which I highly doubt is even needed and the Caddy is a flop. Still with the tax cuts and removal of crap and trade its still a nice place to do business but not if you have nothing for the plant.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My W will be pouring one out later today.

  • avatar
    86er

    Oshawa was a gold-standard plant. I always looked for the ‘2’ in the VIN to be assured it was well put-together.

    This is a sad day and I hope fellow Canadians vote with their wallet.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      I hope you’re right and that Canadians cease buying GM products because of this move, but I doubt they will. We are creatures of habit and inertia rules many of our decisions.

      Look at all of the customers Wells Fargo still has. You’d think after all that has come out that the only business they would have would be legacy mortgages.

  • avatar

    The problem is the only thing GM is good at is cars. Lets be honest the new Blazer is a cheaply built piece of junk. I found the interior cheap beyond belief. It felt like a early 90s Korean car.
    If the US is going to concentrate on Trucks and SUVs do it well! Look at the quality SUVs the Germans and Japanese are producing. If GM produces junk like the Serra and Blazer they will be bankrupt in a decade.

  • avatar
    Bruce Yeager

    Good thing gas prices will always be 2.20 a gallon. Who needs small cars? Americans love big trucks!

  • avatar
    ravenuer

    On a related note, I just spotted a headline on the net that said GM just announced the elimination of 14,000 jobs in the US.

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