Story at a glance
- A massive demonstration has been taking place along the U.S.-Canada border, sparked by truck drivers protesting Canada’s vaccine mandate.
- Demonstrators have blocked key roads that drive commerce between the U.S. and Canada, especially for the auto industry.
- Anderson Economic Group estimates the auto industry has lost a total of $299.9 million between Feb. 7 to Feb. 15 due to the closures and disruptions prompted by the protest.
Truck drivers and other demonstrators have been protesting Canada’s vaccine mandate and COVID-19 restrictions for more than two weeks, blocking various U.S.-Canadian border crossings and costing the auto industry millions of dollars.
The Anderson Economic Group (AEG), a Michigan-based consulting firm, published an updated estimate on Monday that said between Feb. 7 to Feb. 15, there were lost direct wages of $144.9 million, most of which were in Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario. Automakers, including GM, Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota, lost a total of $155 million.
All combined, the auto industry lost a total of $299.9 million for that two-week time period.
“Within hours of the trade disruption at the Ambassador and Blue Water bridges, we observed shortages and then slowdowns at assembly plants. Only some of that lost production can be made up given the tightness of the auto industry’s supply chain right now, so these are real losses to the men and women working in this industry,” said Patrick Anderson, principal and CEO of AEG, in a statement.
In a movement called “Freedom Convoy,” truckers and their supporters are protesting a Canadian policy that requires truckers returning from the U.S. to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination. It eventually broadened to include Canadians critical of pandemic restrictions imposed by the government.
Over the course of the past two weeks, demonstrators have blocked various U.S.-Canadian border crossing points, including Ambassador Bridge which connects Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit. It’s the largest international suspension bridge, spanning about 1.5 miles long and carries more than 40,000 commuters, tourists and truck drivers every day.
The bridge was reopened on Sunday after local authorities arrested dozens of demonstrators that were causing the road blockage.
However, Anderson also said that many of the cars that weren’t produced because of the ongoing protests won’t end up going to customers that bought them, as they’ve already gone elsewhere or are simply forgoing a new car right now.
On Monday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau invoked emergency powers to end the ongoing anti-vaccine protests, allowing the federal government broad powers to restore order, and even use military power to disrupt protests.
“It is no longer a lawful protest at a disagreement over government policy. It is now an illegal occupation. It’s time for people to go home,” said Trudeau during a press conference announcing his emergency order.
Trudeau’s office also said that the Canadian government is going after those who provided financial support for the illegal activity associated with the trucker protest, with millions of dollars raised. Fundraising for the movement was being held on the crowdfunding site GoFundMe, which was eventually shut down, and was moved over to a Christian crowdfunding site called GiveSendGo.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA