New trade rules, technological disruption and COVID-19: prospects for Ontario in the cross-border Great Lakes automotive industry

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Holmes, J.


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 22, Number 1, p.106-127 (2022)



Automotive industry, Automotive production, Automotives, Canadian automotive industry, Cross-border, Electric vehicle technological disruption, electric vehicles, Great lakes, Great Lakes regions, Lakes, Ontario, Pandemic disruption, Supply chains, USMCA rule of origin


Canada has been characterised as a 'semi-peripheral' automotive-producing nation. This paper argues that to frame Canada only as a singular 'national' automotive industry is ill-conceived. Overwhelmingly concentrated in Ontario, Canadian automotive production forms an integral and important part of the cross-border Great Lakes automotive production region. The fortunes of automotive production in Canada are reliant, therefore, not only on 'national' policies but also on the continued vitality of the industry in this broader region and must be analysed as such. An analysis of the state of the industry in Canada stressing its integration within the Great Lakes automotive region is followed by an assessment of how the industry in the region, and especially in Ontario, might be impacted by impending challenges. These include supply chain weaknesses exposed by COVID-19, the more complex and stringent USMCA automotive rules of origin, and technological disruption associated with the transition to electric vehicles. © 2022 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.

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