Unifor welcomes federal consultations to guard against made-in-China electric vehicle imports

Three people standing at a podium in a factory with a group standing in the background

June 27, 2024


On Monday, June 24, Unifor National President Lana Payne joined workers, politicians and auto industry representatives for the federal government’s announcement of a 30-day consultation on potential policy response to guard against unfair Chinese electric vehicle imports.

Launching July 2, the consultations will solicit opinions on how best to prevent dumping and other unfair practices by EV manufacturers in China that threaten Canadian auto and auto parts jobs across the country.

“We look forward to participating in the consultation process,” Payne said. “We also look forward to playing our part in continuing to rebuild Canada’s auto manufacturing capacity so that Canadian autoworkers, and Canadians at large, can benefit from a competitive and sustainable sector for generations.”

Canada’s auto industry continues to transition towards electric vehicle manufacturing, a shift that is essential for Canada’s journey to net zero emissions and for sustaining jobs into the future. Canada is in a unique position to leverage its numerous advantages, including vast mineral resources, highly educated workforce, and existing auto and auto parts industrial capacity to become a global leader in building the next generation of electric vehicles.

“There is a lot at stake for Canadian workers in this EV transition. Tackling climate change fairly and justly means creating good, fulfilling and yes, unionized jobs.” added Payne. “There is no importing our way to net zero. The launch of this consultation into unfair Chinese EV imports is welcome and necessary.”

Payne also outlined how previous governments mishandled trade relations, signing detrimental deals that have harmed Canadian workers. Countries like China have received preferential treatment to invest and sell in Canada without reciprocal benefits, under the guise of fairness. The results of this approach has never been equitable and if action is not taken with electric vehicle imports, it would certainly damage Canada’s efforts to rebuild and grow the domestic auto and auto parts industries.

“A surge of low cost EV imports from China will undermine everything being done here right now to rebuild and grow a strong and truly national auto industry, one that competes on the world stage,” Payne said. “Our members, quite frankly, have worked too hard to get this to this point to allow us to go backwards. There is no justification to trade away high paying, high skilled jobs for cheap and high carbon intensive vehicles built under deplorable labour conditions.”

Watch Payne’s full remarks in the video below.