Automakers keep plug pulled to save power in Canada

TORONTO, (Aug. 18, 2003) — The Ontario auto industry has agreed to scale back production today after the provincial government urged big electricity users to conserve energy after a historic blackout that left up to 50 million people without power across North America last Friday.

General Motors of Canada said about 11,500 of its workers across Ontario were either laid off temporarily or were working shifts during non-peak hours to help save power. The move was in response to a government plea asking big business to limit power usage as it continues to return the power system back to normal.

About 1600 Ford employees were also affected as the company said it had cut the day production shift at its Oakville, Ont. plant and closed its headquarters to save power.

DaimlerChrysler Canada said it would eliminate nonessential lighting and electrical use at all of its facilities across Ontario, effectively shutting down its Windsor, Ont. assembly plant, and leaving its Toronto casting facility operating at 50 per cent capacity.

The companies said they were still unsure if they would return to normal operations tomorrow.

— with files from Reuters

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