Contributing Lawyers


Cyndee Todgham Cherniak

United States

Susan Kohn Ross


Andrew Hudson

Suggestion on What the CAW Can Do to Help the Canadian Auto Industry

There is a lot of talk among trade law specialists about whether payments to the auto industry would result in a WTO illegal subsidy.  IF Canada, China, the EU, Japan, Korea and the United States all bail out their respective auto industries, it is unlikely any dispute will be taken to the WTO unless the subsidization allows cheap cars to flood one of the other markets.  However, there will always be the risk of another series of subsidy cases like what has occurred in the aircraft industry.

So, what can be done to promote the buying of domestic vehicles over foreign vehicles AND for that activity to be consistent with WTO principles?  The Canadian Autoworkers (CAW) should offer to pay the Canadian auto manufacturers  $1500 per domestically manufactured vehicle sold as a rebate to support Canadian jobs.  For example, after the sale of each Chrysler/Ford/General Motors Vehicle that was manufactured in Canada (or North America), the Union should pay a rebate to the vehicle manufacturer. 

The money should be given to the buyer of the vehicle in the form of a Support Canadian Unionize Workers rebate.  The union is not government and, therefore, the amount would not be a WTO illegal subsidy.  The union has to share in the obligation to save the auto industry.  Part of the problem with the auto industry is the union and the fact that the labour is too high - resulting in vehicles beyond the financial pain threshold of consumers.  For the unions to be part of the solution, they have to help bring the cost of vehicles back down to a price that is affordable to consumers.

I am a consumer and I know that the price of motor vehicles is too high - that is why I have not purchased a new car in 12 years.  unlike most consumers, I have been able to purchase Canadian-made motor vehicles at employee pricing for my entire driving life. 

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