Sluggish border will hurt investment in Ontario: OTA

TORONTO, (July 26, 2004) — The president of the Ontario Trucking Association warned that the province is at risk of losing billions in investment unless politicians start paying closer attention to the delays trucks are facing at the border.

“The border does not just start at Windsor, Sarnia or Fort Erie — it starts wherever goods are picked up or delivered to in the province,” said David Bradley at a speech given at a conference on border security and trade hosted by the Canadian Urban Institute. “Unless the trucks hauling Ontario’s trade with the United States can do so securely, efficiently, reliably and predictably, Ontario will be left out of the supply chain and direct investment in factories will shift to the U.S.”

Underscoring Bradley’s point was Chatham, Ont. Mayor Diane Gagner, who has witnessed how the border has become a deterrent to direct investment. Recently, a German auto parts manufacturer chose to build a plant in Michigan despite the fact its operating costs would have been cheaper in Chatham. Gagner said the company’s U.S. customer did not want to have to worry about the impact of the border on the reliability of supply.

Bradley said that border issues are not the political priority they were a couple of years ago, yet the problems are getting bigger and the truck line-ups will get longer. “What we need is for our political masters at the highest level to have a vision and to show real leadership in ensuring that Ontario and Canada have the infrastructure, the regulations, the systems and the desire to compete and win in the trading game.”

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