Freedom Convoy Protests At U.S.-Canadian Border Have Forced Automakers To Slow Production

On Thursday, General Motors (GM) was forced to cancel shifts as protests at the border caused supply line disruptions. Protests are entering their second week at Ambassador Bridge, which connects Detroit, Michigan with Canada, where truckers have blockaded the border in protest of vaccine requirements for crossing international borders. Unvaccinated international truckers would be forced to quarantine for two weeks upon re-entering Canada, essentially rendering them unable to do their jobs.

On Wednesday, the GM Delta Township plant announced it would cancel first shift on February 10 due to the bridge blockade. Plant officials later announced that second shift production had been cancelled as well. “We are working closely with our logistics providers to mitigate any potential impacts to our production and operations,” a GM spokesman said in a statement. Shifts at the plant are currently expected to resume on Friday, February 11.

A Toyota spokesman told Reuters that the automaker was suspending production through Saturday at plants on both sides of the border, in Ontario and Kentucky. The largest Japanese automaker said it was “experiencing multiple dropped logistics routes” and it is “not isolated to only one or two parts at this point.”

Honda, Chrysler and Ford also announced similar scale backs, delays and cancellations.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the demonstrations an “illegal occupation” and urged protesters to disperse in a statement on Thursday. “The illegal occupation and blockade happening in Ontario must stop,” Ford said. “The Ambassador Bridge is one of the most vital trade corridors in our country,” he added. “The damage this is causing to our economy, to people’s jobs and their livelihoods is totally unacceptable. We cannot let this continue.”

As of Thursday afternoon, three border crossings between the U.S. and Canada remain closed. The Canadian protesters are demanding an end to a new federal measure that forces unvaccinated truckers to quarantine for two weeks upon re-entering Canada. They have also called for an end to Canada’s vaccine requirements as a whole and have called for Justin Trudeau to resign.

The truckers’ efforts appear to be bearing fruit as the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan announced an end to their vaccine passport programs on earlier this week. Alberta dropped their passport program on Tuesday evening and will be phasing out other COVID measures such as mask mandates and capacity limits by March 1. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has refused to speak with the protesters, however. Trudeau has baselessly accused the overwhelmingly peaceful protesters of having ties to “far right” and “hate groups.”


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