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U.S. strike against GM threatens Canadian plants

U.S. strike against GM threatens Canadian plants

As 49,000 United Auto Workers in the U.S. strike against General Motors, there’s a risk the walkout could shut down GM Canada’s plants and auto-parts makers in Ontario.

GM Canada says it is monitoring the situation closely for any impact to Canadian operations.

The North American auto industry is highly integrated, with assembly plants here in Canada reliant on parts coming from the U.S. and Mexico.

GM has three plants in Ontario, assembly plants in Ingersoll and Oshawa and an engine and transmission plant in St. Catharines.

Because the auto supply chain is integrated, Canadian plants could soon be unable to continue working because of a shortage of parts. GM Canada did not say how soon Canadian plants might be affected.

But it could happen quickly. GM uses “just-in-time” delivery, which means hundreds of parts are moving across the border every day.

If the engines or transmissions St. Catharines is building are destined for cars assembled in the U.S., the plant may have to slow or stop operations. Similarly, if the assembly plants are depending on parts from the U.S., they may have to halt operations.

GM has not said how many days of parts it has in reserve.

It would be about two months before auto dealerships are affected by a shortage of product, according to the parent company.