Photostory #455A: In Modern Canada: Multi-Billion-Dollar Auto Industry

Ted Grant
National Film Board of Canada
Release Date
November 7, 1967
CMCP fonds
Credit Line
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Main Text
The most important single factor affecting modern industrialized life is the profusion of mechanical transport. Jumbo jets are making their debut, supersonic jets are around the corner, replacement fleets of ships are constantly coming off the slips and new modes of conveyance are in experimental stages. But the most vital everyday segment of transportation remains the four-wheeled passenger and goods vehicle. So important has the automobile become that many countries (like Canada, where vehicle registrations are now between seven and eight million annually and about 80 per cent of all families own one or more vehicles) are at the stage where the automotive industry is a key foundation block for the whole national economy. Canada's dozen or so automotive companies produced over 900,000 vehicles last year, plus large quantities of engines and parts. Of this total more than a billion dollars worth was exported. This big business employs 100,000 Canadians directly in automotive manufacturing, and indirectly uses the services of a very large portion of the labor forces in such industries as rubber and petroleum refining. Add to this the numbers of people engaged in selling and operating motor vehicles, and thousands of others whose employment depends on cars and trucks and it is very apparent that automotive production, today, is of widespread concern. In future Canada's auto industry is expected to expand even further. With the automobile trade agreement ratified between Canada and the United States two years ago, the way has opened to a bigger, more complete industry. This year, for instance, the Budd Automotive Company of Canada opened an automated car-frame manufacturing plant that will eventually supply 450,000 frames annually. Another chassis-making plant in Ontario, Hayes-Dana Limited, also started production aimed at 350,000 frames a year. Along with these firsts for the Canadian auto industry go new factories built by overseas interests for assembling their models in Canada and today, Swedish, Japanese and French cars are being produced by Canadian automotive workers. For Canada, with an ever-growing population and a vast country under constant development, future transportation requirements will call for a rapid and steady increase of all kinds of private and commercial vehicles. With the nation's healthy new-look automotive industry such requirements should be readily fulfilled.