Ontario Premier Doug Ford Advocates for Tariffs on Chinese EVs to Protect Local Jobs


6/21/20242 min read

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is urging the federal government to impose substantial tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports, warning that an influx of low-cost cars from China could jeopardize jobs in Ontario’s EV manufacturing sector. This comes amidst significant taxpayer investments aimed at bolstering local EV production.

In a recent statement, Ford expressed concerns over China "flooding" the Canadian market with "artificially cheap electric vehicles," potentially undermining the burgeoning industry in Ontario. He called for the federal government to align with the U.S. by implementing tariffs of at least 100% on Chinese EV imports to safeguard Canadian jobs.

The European Union has already announced plans to impose tariffs of up to 38% on Chinese EVs starting July 4, following the U.S. decision to quadruple tariffs to 100% in May. Former U.S. Ambassador to Canada Bruce Heyman has also called for Canada to join the U.S. and EU in this move, emphasizing the importance of aligned policies between Canada and the U.S.

Ontario has made significant investments, alongside the federal government, to rejuvenate its auto manufacturing sector, with commitments totaling $46 billion in EV-related projects. This funding has attracted major automakers like Honda, Volkswagen, Stellantis, and Ford Motor Company to set up operations in the province, with expectations of creating thousands of new jobs.

Despite these efforts, the transition to full-scale production has been slow, with substantial output anticipated only in the next few years. Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, warned that affordable Chinese EVs could dominate the market before Ontario’s plants are fully operational, threatening the viability of local manufacturing.

Ford’s call for tariffs is backed by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, which has been advocating for protective measures for months. The Premier emphasized the collaborative efforts between the Ontario government, the federal government, and private-sector partners in securing substantial investments and job opportunities in the EV sector.

Innovation, Science, and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne, speaking at the 2024 Canada Automotive Summit, reaffirmed the government's commitment to protecting and growing the Canadian automotive industry, though he did not directly address the issue of tariffs.

The push for tariffs reflects broader concerns about maintaining a competitive edge in the global automotive market and protecting domestic industries from external economic pressures.