The latest supply chain headache in a two-year stretch full of them is the convoy of Canadian truckers blocking key bridges that connect Canada to the U.S. The truckers are protesting vaccine mandates that require those crossing the border to be vaccinated against COVID-19. This week, the protests have blocked the Ambassador and Blue Water bridges connecting Ontario and Michigan. The Ambassador Bridge facilitates more than a quarter of the trade between the two countries, and Anderson Economic Group said Friday the protests could cost Michigan auto workers as much as $51 in lost wages because of plants shutting down when they can’t get parts from Canada.
“This is a serious disruption with significant human impacts,” said Patrick Anderson, CEO of Anderson Economic Group. “With the industry already short-handed and production lines awaiting parts, any further interruption is very costly.”
Ontario premier Doug Ford declared a state of emergency Friday as truckers continued to block bridges and parts of downtown Ottawa, the national capital.
“We are now two weeks into the siege of Ottawa,” Ford said. “It’s an illegal occupation. It’s no longer a protest.”
Automakers Ford, GM, Toyota, and Honda have closed plants or canceled shifts because of lack of parts, and President Biden has pressured Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use his federal powers to break the blockades. There have also been smaller blockades at border crossings linking Alberta and Montana and Manitoba and North Dakota.
Canadian authorities have been hesitant to use force to remove the convoy, fearing violent backlash.
“This is an unprecedented demonstration. It has significant levels of fundraising, coordination, and communication. They have command centers established here and across the country and beyond this country,” Ottawa police chief Peter Sloly said.
Doug Ford has asked a court to freeze payments to the convoy from crowdfunding site GiveSendGo, which the truckers began using GoFundMe froze payments because they were funding illegal activity. Ford said he would announce new measures later Friday.