Report: GM to Close Oshawa Operations

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.

a version of this report first appeared on thetruthaboutcars.com

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