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NEWS ARTICLE
INDEX

Ford's New
Anti-Theft
Technology
Is Brilliant
_______

Restaurants,
gyms to reopen
Jan. 31 as Ford
announces
gradual easing
of COVID
restrictions
_______

Ford recalls
200K cars
because
brake lights
can stay on
______

Ford Mustang
Has Worst
Sales Year
Ever, Loses
Crown To
Challenger
________

Ford's sales
in China grew
3.7% in 2021,
GM's remained
flat
________

Canada joins
Mexico's
official
complaint
arguing U.S.
violating new
trade pact
over auto
parts
provision
_______

Ford crosses
$100 billion
in market
value for the
first time
_______

Ontario's
Deadline To
Renew Driver's
Licences &
Health Cards
Is Coming
Up, So Get
Prepared
_______

Pressure
mounting
for grocers
to bring back
'hero pay' amid
Omicron surge
_______

Canada may
have another
unlikely ally
in its electric
vehicle tax-
credit fight:
Arizona
________

Ford posts
7% fall in
2021 U.S.
auto sales
_______

Ottawa says
140 million
more rapid
tests heading
to the
provinces,
territories
this month
________

Local 444
Planning a
Rally over
latest
Closure
of Caesars
Windsor
_______

Ford Canada
extends
vaccine
deadline for
employees
_______

Ford to
double
F-150
Lightning
production;
orders open
Thursday
_______

Planning a
staycation?
You can claim
a tax credit
if you travel
in Ontario
this year
_______

Ontario's
minimum
hourly wage
now $15
_______

GM Oshawa
Assembly is
alive again
________

2021
Articles

Made In Canada Matters

Contact Us

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News

Ford's New Anti-Theft
Technology Is Brilliant

JAN 24, 2022
JAY TRAUGOTT 

Meet Canopy, developed in coordination with ADT.

Having your vehicle stolen is probably one of the most annoying and frustrating things that can happen. Getting something snatched from the inside, like a smartphone, is also deeply disheartening. There are typical anti-theft systems new and old, but Ford figured it could do better. So it teamed up with security company ADT to create Canopy.

This new joint venture blends ADT's security monitoring capabilities with the Blue Oval's AI-driven video camera technology. Canopy makes use of things like acoustic sensors for vans (like the Ford Transit), onboard cameras, radar, LTE, and GPS. The monitoring product itself features a camera that's mounted in either a van's cargo area or a pickup truck's bed. The platform will then use AI tech to identify and report "credible threats while reducing false alarm signals." The included video showcases an F-150 owner catching a potential thief red-handed with his smartphone.

Customers will have the ability to connect to the system by using the Canopy app to livestream video from their vehicle. The system will also notify them of any suspicious activities. They can also view past occurrences, which can be extremely useful when filing insurance claims. If the system identifies a potentially real threat (breaking glass, metal cutting, and even suspicious motions), it'll trigger an alert to the owner's smartphone. Users can even speak to thieves and warn them away thanks to the app's two-way audio feature, due next year.

The AI tech is so advanced it can distinguish the difference between an animal hopping into a truck bed or regular loud noises from, say, a construction site. If a potentially serious threat is detected, Canopy will further alert ADT monitoring professionals, aka real human beings, who can then contact owners and/or the police.

 

Restaurants, gyms to reopen
Jan. 31 as Ford announces
gradual easing of COVID
restrictions

The Premier was joined by Ontario's Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, to announce that the province will begin easing restrictions on January 31st.

Michael Talbot
Jan 21, 2022

Saying the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic “is behind us’ Ontario Premier Doug Ford has announced the gradual easing of public health measures in three phases, beginning on January 31 when gyms and restaurants will reopen at 50 per cent capacity and gathering limits will increase to 10 people indoors and 25 outdoors. (full list below).

Sporting and concert venues, and theatres, can also open their doors at half capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

After the 31st, more restrictions will be eased in three week intervals on February 21st, and March 14 when capacity limits in all indoor settings will be lifted.

“The evidence tells us that the measures we put in place to blunt transmission of Omicron are working,” Ford said. “We can be confident that the worst is behind us and that we are now in a position to cautiously and gradually ease public health measures. While February will continue to present its own challenges, given current trends these are challenges we are confident we can manage.”

Ford stressed that if the numbers start going up again, the province is ready and willing to put the new plans on pause.

“If that means pausing between steps for a few extra days, we won’t hesitate to do so,” he said.

The province has been in a modified Step 2 of the “Road to Reopen Plan” since Jan. 5, closing restaurants to in-person dining, shutting gyms and putting a 50 per cent capacity on retail.

The restrictions were scheduled to be in place until at least Jan. 26.

On Thursday, Ontario reported thelowest COVID-19 test positivity rate in nearly a month, with hospitalizations and ICU admissions remaining stable.

The province’s new three-phased plan will roll out as follows: (Source: Province of Ontario)

January 31, 2022

Effective January 31, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. Ontario will begin the process of gradually easing restrictions, while maintaining protective measures, including but not limited to:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
  • Increasing or maintaining capacity limits at 50 per cent in indoor public settings, including but not limited to:
  • Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments without dance facilities;
  • Retailers (including grocery stores and pharmacies)
  • Shopping malls;
  • Non-spectator areas of sports and recreational fitness facilities, including gyms;
  • Cinemas;
  • Meeting and event spaces;
  • Recreational amenities and amusement parks, including water parks;
  • Museums, galleries, aquariums, zoos and similar attractions; and
  • Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
  • Religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Allowing spectator areas of facilities such as sporting events, concert venues and theatres to operate at 50 per cent seated capacity or 500 people, whichever is less.

 

February 21, 2022

Effective February 21, 2022, Ontario will lift public health measures, including:

  • Increasing social gathering limits to 25 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
  • Removing capacity limits in indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is required, including but not limited to restaurants, indoor sports and recreational facilities, cinemas, as well as other settings that choose to opt-in to proof of vaccination requirements.
  • Permitting spectator capacity at sporting events, concert venues, and theatres at 50 per cent capacity.
  • Limiting capacity in most remaining indoor public settings where proof of vaccination is not required to the number of people that can maintain two metres of physical distance.
  • Indoor religious services, rites or ceremonies limited to the number that can maintain two metres of physical distance, with no limit if proof of vaccination is required.
  • Increasing indoor capacity limits to 25 per cent in the remaining higher-risk settings where proof of vaccination is required, including nightclubs, wedding receptions in meeting or event spaces where there is dancing, as well as bathhouses and sex clubs.

 

Enhanced proof of vaccination, and other requirements would continue to apply in existing settings.

March 14, 2022

Effective March 14, 2022, Ontario will take additional steps to ease public health measures, including:

  • Lifting capacity limits in all indoor public settings. Proof of vaccination will be maintained in existing settings in addition to other regular measures.
  • Lifting remaining capacity limits on religious services, rites, or ceremonies.
  • Increase social gathering limits to 50 people indoors with no limits for outdoor gatherings.

 

Ford recalls 200K cars because
brake lights can stay on

Associated Press
Jan 20, 2022

Detroit – Ford is recalling about 200,000 cars in the U.S. to fix a problem that can stop the brake lights from turning off.

The recall covers certain 2014 and 2015 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ midsize cars as well as some 2015 Mustangs. All were sold or registered in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia and Hawaii.

High temperatures and humidity can cause a rubber brake pedal part to disintegrate, keeping the lights on, confusing other drivers and increasing the risk of a crash. Drivers with automatic transmissions also can shift out of “park” gear without having their foot on the brake.

Dealers will replace brake and clutch pedal bumpers. Owners will be notified by mail starting March 3.

 

Ford Mustang Has Worst
Sales Year Ever, Loses
Crown To Challenger

Christopher Smith
Jan 19, 2022

Unless you include Mach-E sales.

Another dynasty in vehicle sales for North America comes to an end. We already learned about Toyota passing GM for the top spot in the States. Now, after many years as the pony car champion, the Ford Mustang is dethroned in 2021 by the Dodge Challenger and its 14-year-old bones. That is, unless you include Mach-E sales in Mustang's total, which Ford does and doesn't do. More on that in a bit.

First, the numbers. Dodge reports 54,314 new Challenger sales in 2021, which is a 3 percent increase from 2020. Meanwhile, Mustang sales fell 14.2 percent to land at 52,414, officially making 2021 the worst sales year in the pony car's 56-year history. 2020 was previously the worst year, followed closely by 2009. As for the Chevrolet Camaro, its unbridled freefall continues as only 21,893 were sold last year. That's a drop of 26.5 percent.

Vehicle                           2021 Sales          2020 Sales          Difference

Dodge Challenger           54,314                   52,995                +3%

Ford Mustang                 52,414                   61,090               -14.2%

Chevrolet Camaro          21,893                    29,775              -26.5%

That said, here's where things become a bit fuzzy. Ford sold 27,140 Mach-Es in 2021, making it the second best-selling electric crossover in North America behind the Tesla Model Y. There's no denying the Mach-E is a success, but there's also no denying that it's very different from the familiar Mustang.

In its sales report, Ford has separate listings for the Mach-E and Mustang. However, the automaker also points out that combined Mustang Mach-E and Mustang sales were 79,554 total vehicles, and Ford does list that as a 30.2 increase versus Mustang sales in 2020.

Regardless of where you fall on the Mach-E-versus-Mustang debate, there's no denying that Ford's traditional pony car is certainly struggling in the sales department. One might point to the global semiconductor shortage as a potential source for Mustang's decline in 2021, but that doesn't explain Mustang's years-long sales slide that began in 2016. As for the Challenger, perhaps Dodge's occasional unveiling of new packages and trims is enough to keep it fresh in the eyes of buyers. Either way, the Dodge Challenger is now the pony car sales king in North America.

 

Ford's sales in China grew
3.7% in 2021, GM's
remained flat

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News
Jan 18, 2022

Ford Motor Co.'s sales in Greater China ticked up 3.7% in 2021 compared with 2020, while rival General Motors Co.'s year-over-year sales in the world's largest auto market stayed flat amid an ongoing semiconductor chip shortage that hampered vehicle production worldwide last year.

Ford sold approximately 624,000 vehicles in China and Taiwan last year, up from 602,627 sales in 2020. GM, meanwhile, sold about 2.9 million vehicles in China, the same as it did in 2020.

In the fourth quarter, Ford sold more than 167,000 vehicles in the region, up 11.9% from the previous quarter. 

Underpinning the overall growth in sales was Ford's luxury Lincoln division, which notched a record 91,000 sales for the year — outselling Lincoln in the U.S., where the brand had just under 87,000 sales, and surpassing by nearly 50% the brand's 2020 China sales of roughly 61,700 units. In the fourth quarter, Lincoln sales were up 13.1% year-over-year.

"Ford starts 2022 with strong momentum from the execution of our China 2.0 plans centered on a robust portfolio and electrification," Anning Chen, president and CEO of Ford China, said in a statement. "The steady rollout of new vehicles — including the locally built Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford EVOS and Lincoln Zephyr — combined with the launch of Ford's network of direct-to-customer battery electric vehicle stores positions us well for growth ahead."

In 2021, Ford began building out a direct sales network for its electric vehicles in the region and in the fall launched the locally-assembled version of its all-electric Mustang Mach-E to customers in China, which is the top country for EV sales. The automaker so far has opened 25 direct-to-consumer stores for battery-electric vehicles as part of a plan to establish a network of more than 100 stores in major cities across China.

Ford-branded passenger vehicle sales of approximately 237,000 units were down 1.4% from 2020. Ford SUV sales of more than 140,000 units were up 0.6%. The automaker also reported "strong demand" for sedans, with sales up for models such as the Ford Mondeo and Ford Taurus.

On the commercial vehicle side, Ford and its manufacturing partner Jiangling Motors Corporation reported 264,000 sales in 2021, down 1.8% year-over-year. Ford Transit sales were up 1.4%. And JMC brand commercial vehicle sales of more than 211,000 units were down 2.2%.

Ford does not break down by segment or brand the vehicles it sells in Taiwan, but those units are part of the total sales number the automaker reports.

The release did not provide breakdown of vehicles sold in Taiwan which are counted as part of the 624,000 total as part of Ford’s Greater China results.

Detroit's automakers historically have struggled to succeed in China. Ford's sales there had been pulled down by lack of demand for an aging vehicle lineup, but recently have improved since the automaker launched its China 2.0 strategy aimed at accelerating the changeover of its lineup and introducing more locally-made vehicles in line with the preferences of customers in the region.

General Motors Co. too, has sought to realign its lineup in China. The Detroit automaker noted in its sales release earlier this week that it has an "intensive launch cadence" planned for its brands in China in 2022. More than 20 new and refreshed models will be introduced, with the focus on luxury and premium models as well as new energy vehicles including EVs.

“As the challenges brought by the macro environment persisted, we stayed focused on delivering high-quality products and services to satisfy our customers while moving forward on our commitment to create a future of zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion,” Julian Blissett, GM executive vice president and president of GM China, said in a statement. “We are optimistic about the outlook for the industry and our performance in 2022.”

By brand, Cadillac had record sales of more than 230,000 units in 2021. Buick delivered nearly 820,000 units, while Chevrolet deliveries totaled about 230,000 vehicles. Baojun had more than 210,000 sales and Wuling sold about 1.4 million units.

As GM accelerates its shift toward zero-emissions vehicles and aims to hit ambitious electrification targets, the automaker noted that a "wide spectrum" of vehicle models on its Ultium platform, across Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet, will be introduced in China, led by the forthcoming Cadillac Lyriq. GM's first Ultium Center, where battery packs for locally-built EVs are assembled, opened in Shanghai in October.

Meanwhile, data and analytics firm GlobalData on Friday released a new report Friday predicting that China will maintain its dominance in the EV market in 2022.

“In 2020, 48% of all EVs on the road could be found in China — more than the combined figure for the US and Europe. China’s EV fleet will be 60% of the world’s total by 2030," GlobalData analyst Amrit Dhami said in a statement. “China’s large domestic market, raw materials access, and favorable government policies mean it will continue to dominate the EV landscape and won’t be as disadvantaged by the lithium shortage."

In the U.S., Ford's sales fell 6.8% in 2021 to about 1.9 million. GM's U.S. sales slid 13% to roughly 2.2 million vehicles — and the automaker ceded its No. 1 U.S. sales position for the first time in 90 years. 

 

Canada joins Mexico's official
complaint arguing U.S.
violating new trade pact
over auto parts provision

Ashley Burke  
Jan 17, 2022

© Norm Betts/Bloomberg Canada is arguing that the way the U.S. views the CUSMA trade pact would make it harder for Canadian vehicles and core auto parts — engines, transmissions and steering wheels — to qualify as duty-free.

Canada is joining Mexico's official complaint today requesting a dispute settlement panel over claims the U.S. is violating the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement on trade, the new NAFTA, by insisting on a stricter way of interpreting a key provision around auto parts. 

Motor vehicles are the top manufactured trade product between the three countries. Canada argues that the way the U.S. views the trade pact would make it harder for Canadian vehicles and core auto parts — engines, transmissions and steering wheels — to qualify as duty-free. 

International trade and export promotion minister May Ng issued a statement this morning arguing the U.S. view of the rules is "inconsistent" with the trade pact the three countries agreed to, which came into force in 2020. 

"Canada, Mexico and the United States would all benefit from certainty that CUSMA is being implemented as negotiated, and Canada is optimistic that a dispute settlement panel will help ensure a timely resolution of this issue," wrote Ng. 

Canada and Mexico have been working to resolve this dispute for more than a year. 

The dispute centres around a technical issue in the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. The provision would require by 2025 that 75 per cent of a vehicle and certain core components must be manufactured in the country in order to qualify to be duty-free. If not, the U.S. can charge tariffs under World Trade Organization rules. 

This "rules of origin" provision was supposed to encourage "production and sourcing" of passenger cars and light-duty trucks in North America to "deepen regional integration," wrote Ng. 

Prior to CUSMA going into effect in July 2020, only 62.5 per cent of a vehicle had to be manufactured in the country to qualify for duty-free treatment. 

Canada says U.S. interpretation would be a burden

Mexico and Canada argue that if a core car part uses 75 per cent regional manufacturing, it satisfies the agreement to meet a second requirement to qualify for the entire car to meet the bar to be considered duty-free. The U.S. doesn't agree, which could make it harder for entire vehicles to qualify to be considered duty-free. 

A Canadian senior government official told CBC News the U.S. interpretation could be overly burdensome for the industry and regulators. 

While re-negotiating NAFTA in 2019, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. agreed on a dispute mechanism process that will now be used. A dispute panel could hear the arguments for the nations. 

Ng wrote the Canadian government will continue to "stand up for our auto industry and workers."

"Canada, Mexico and the United States would all benefit from certainty that CUSMA is being implemented as negotiated, and Canada is optimistic that a dispute settlement panel will help ensure a timely resolution of this issue," wrote Ng. 

The matter is not related to Canada's dispute with the U.S. over its electric vehicle tax incentive for American-made vehicles. 

 

 

Ford crosses $100 billion in
market value for the first time

Reuters
Jan 14, 2022

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's market value breached $100 billion for the first time on Thursday, as more investors bet on the Detroit automaker's electrification strategy.

The company's shares, which have more than doubled in value last year, were up 3.7% in afternoon trade after hitting a more than two-decade high earlier.

Ford is now worth more than its century-old rival General Motors, whose market cap stands at about $88.61 billion and EV start-up Rivian Automotive, whose value is about $77.8 billion.

But, the automakers are still dwarfed by EV leader Tesla Inc, which has a market cap of over $1 trillion.

Shares of Tesla were down 4.7% on Thursday after a report said the company updated its Cybertruck model webpage to remove references to the year 2022. (Graphic: Ford's stock market value surpasses $100 billion, https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/FORD/myvmnbqodpr/chart.png)

Ford's gains come amid its plans to double production capacity for the electric version of its hugely popular F-150 pickup truck to 150,000 vehicles as part of Chief Executive Jim Farley's aggressive electrification strategy.

Demand for the F-150 Lightning electric pickup has been red hot and Ford has had to stop taking reservations for the truck ahead of its arrival this spring at U.S. dealers.

Ford's Farley, who took over as CEO in 2020, has pledged to invest more than $30 billion on EVs, including battery development, by 2030.

The EV strategy has buoyed Wall Street brokerages, with Deutsche Bank the latest to raise its price target on Ford.

"We see room for Ford's fourth quarter performance to come in above consensus expectations, based on continued strong pricing offsetting growing raw materials headwinds," Deutsche Bank analyst Emmanuel Rosner said in a research note, while raising its price target to $24 from $18.

The median Wall Street price target is $21.85.

 

Ontario's Deadline To Renew
Driver's Licences & Health
Cards Is Coming Up,
So Get Prepared

January 12, 2022

Did your driver's licence or health card expire during the pandemic? Well, Ontario's deadline to renew them is just over a month away, so you may want to consider getting it done sooner than later.

According to the provincial government, Ontarians with driver's licences, licence plate stickers, photo cards, health cards, and other driver and vehicle products that have already expired since March 2020 or is set to expire by February 28, 2022, will have until the end of February to renew them.

Ontarians can renew all of these documents online via the ServiceOntario website, so you can bypass the line-up and do it straight from the comfort of your own home.

The provincial government extended the validity of these documents in order to curb the spread of COVID-19 and limit the number of people hitting up ServiceOntario.

If your licence expires after February 28, 2022, a reminder probably won't make its way into your mailbox because the Ontario government will stop mailing them out to most people.

Back in November, the Ford administration said instead it will email reminders to Ontarians with upcoming renewal deadlines.

"As part of our commitment to improving access to government services for the people and businesses of our province, Ontarians can now benefit from secure and timely reminders and renew their products right from the comfort of their own homes," Minister of Government and Consumer Service, Ross Romano, said in the November 18 announcement.

Some residents who will still likely get a notice in their mailbox include anyone 16 years old and under or 70 and older with expired health cards, as well as those with a licence plate sticker tied to a company vehicle, and heavy commercial vehicle owners.

 

Pressure mounting for grocers
to bring back 'hero pay'
amid Omicron surge

The Canadian Press
Brett Bundale,
January 11, 2022

The failure of Canada's grocers to reinstate “hero pay” for employees amid an exponential rise in COVID-19 cases is “about greed, period,” the head of the country's largest private-sector union said Friday.

Unifor national president Jerry Dias said while front-line supermarket workers are facing the biggest risks, executives are receiving the biggest rewards.

Top grocery bosses have cashed multi-million dollar bonuses as sales and profits soar during the pandemic - even as they refuse to bring back pay bumps for employees, he said.

“Employees on the front line are at risk every day and yet it's the executives being rewarded handsomely,” Dias said. “They're making record profits but don't have the decency to pay their employees what they're worth.”

His comments come after the federal NDP critic for economic development, MP Brian Masse, sent a letter to the heads of Canada's biggest supermarkets this week saying workers are doing risky work and again deserve a wage premium to keep stores open and shelves stocked.

Three grocery chains - Loblaws, Metro and Sobeys - ushered in a $2-an-hour pay bump in the early days of the pandemic. It was cancelled after the first wave subsided.

While each chain has sporadically reintroduced either wage bonuses or other incentives, it appears none have offered workers pay premiums as a result of the Omicron surge.

Loblaw did not respond to multiple requests for comment, while Metro declined to comment.

However, Sobeys shared a letter CEO Michael Medline sent in response to Masse's concerns.

“We are the only retailer in Canada who publicly committed to reinstating our Hero Pay/Lockdown Bonus program when regions or provinces go back into lockdowns that close all non-essential retail,” he said.

Sobeys has distributed over $110 million in “hero pay” and bonuses to its front-line team members since the beginning of the pandemic, Medline said.

Sobeys spokeswoman Jacquelin Weatherbee added in an email that the company is closely watching the constantly changing restrictions.

If government-mandated lockdowns once again close all non-essential retail, the grocer will reinstate its lockdown bonus, she said.

Yet Dias said the risk of catching COVID-19 has never been greater for retail workers as infections surge across the country.

“Pandemic pay was a recognition that front-line workers are at an increased risk from the coronavirus,” he said. “That danger is still there.”

Dalhousie University professor of food distribution and policy Sylvain Charlebois said other parts of the food industry, including processing and distribution, have seen wages increase permanently during the pandemic.

“Employees in stores also deserve higher wages,” Charlebois said. “It's time to look at wages seriously.”

Other retailers, such as Costco Wholesale Canada Ltd. and The Home Depot Canada, replaced temporary pandemic bonuses with permanent wage increases.

However, part of the issue in food retail is that it's a “high volume, low margin environment,” Charlebois said.

“If grocery chains raised wages by $2 an hour across the board, most of the stores in their networks would likely run at a loss,” he said. “That's the reality of grocery shopping.”

Meanwhile, increasing automation could reduce the number of workers companies need to run a grocery store, but those people could be better paid, Charlebois said.

“Knowing the financial realities of running a grocery store, you can't afford to keep the same amount of people (and increase both automation and wages across the board),” he said.

But Dias said employees deserve a living wage.

“You can always find justification not to do the right thing,” he said. “The bottom line is those on the front lines deserve to have decent hours and to make a decent living wage.”

UFCW Canada, which also represents grocery retail workers in Canada, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

 

Canada may have another
unlikely ally in its electric
vehicle tax-credit fight: Arizona

James McCarten
The Canadian Press
Jan 010, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks during a visit to Detroit's General Motors Factory ZERO electric vehicle assembly plant in November. His plan to use protectionist tax incentives to promote American-made electric vehicles is opposed by Ottawa. (Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

From its arid desert climate to its mercurial, centre-right politics, the southern border state of Arizona hardly seems to have much in common with Canada beyond winter-wary snowbirds.

But U.S. President Joe Biden's controversial plan to use protectionist tax incentives to promote American-made electric vehicles, which threaten misery for the Canadian auto sector, is making for all kinds of strange bedfellows.

With its proximity to both Silicon Valley and the U.S.-Mexico border — without the high taxes and regulation of tech-savvy neighbour California — the Grand Canyon State is striving to play host to the looming EV revolution — a vision endangered by Biden's scheme.

"We're going to be one of the next hubs in the United States for next-generation electric vehicle manufacturing," said Chris Camacho, president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

"We just want, from a federal policy standpoint, a fair and balanced approach so that consumers can buy the products that they want. Whether they're produced in states like Arizona or other states across the country, we think prudent policy to induce consumer behaviour should be done fairly."

Arizona is far from the only state opposed to the measure, which if passed would allow would-be electric vehicle buyers to enjoy tax credits worth up to $12,500 US, provided their preferred car or truck was assembled in the U.S. and built with union labour.

But few have been more vocal critics. Last month, Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Sanders and Jaime Molera, Arizona director of a conservative environmental group called The Western Way, penned an opinion piece denouncing a "poorly drafted" scheme that would "hobble" the state's EV ambitions.

Bill hit by setback in December

Sanders is taking little comfort in the fact that Biden's Build Back Better bill, the $1.75-trillion US climate and social spending package containing the tax credits, suffered a setback before Christmas when renegade Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin declared he would not support it.

"What you learn early on is nothing's ever dead," Sanders, himself a veteran of public-policy debates within government at the state level, said in an interview.

"If we can bring in Canada into this, obviously our friends from Mexico and then our congressional delegation, that starts to at least raise the concern that we have that this isn't necessarily the right way to go."

Along with up-and-coming EV players such as Rivian, Nikola Corp. and ElectraMeccanica, Arizona is attracting parts and manufacturing service suppliers as well — including Jomi Engineering Group, based in Barrie, Ont., which by mid-year will have some 120 employees at its new facility in Casa Grande, just south of Phoenix.

"You can't fight it," Jomi founder and president Michael Hoy said of the growing EV sector's gravitational pull toward the southern U.S.

"[We] couldn't build the Canadian operation anymore; we would have probably never had the opportunity as we do, or get competitive enough, if we didn't move closer to our customers."

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia and a crucial vote in the Senate, has said he does not support the current version of the $1.75-trillion US Build Back Better legislation. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times/The Associated Press)

In October, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey was among 11 Republican state governors who wrote to congressional leaders denouncing Biden's plan as an unfair use of taxpayer dollars.

"We cannot support any proposal that creates a discriminatory environment in our states by punishing autoworkers and car companies because the workers in their plants chose not to unionize," the letter says.

"Congress should not enact proposals that favour vehicles produced by one workforce over another, particularly when doing so dramatically limits consumer choice and undermines larger carbon emission reduction goals."

Arizona delegation a lobbying target for Canada

In the 50-50 U.S. Senate, West Virginia's Manchin has been the focus of will-he, won't-he speculation about his support for Build Back Better.

Less attention has been paid to an equally unpredictable Democratic colleague, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, whose moderate-conservative politics nicely encapsulate the purple state she represents: Arizona.

As a right-to-work state — by law, would-be employees can't be required to join a union — with a vested interest in a robust and growing EV industry, Arizona is focused only on doing away with the $4,500 portion of the tax credits that are focused on American-assembled, union-built vehicles.

"That should make them almost the optimum ally," said Roy Norton, a former senior diplomat who did two stints at the Canadian Embassy in the 1990s and 2000s before becoming diplomat-in-residence at the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ont.

"We don't want to kill subsidies. We just want to kill subsidies for U.S.-made vehicles exclusively — and Arizona should be precisely on the same page inasmuch as it's a right-to-work state that's at odds with a president and an administration that is a bit of a throwback."

Officials in Ottawa confirm that Arizona's congressional delegation — and Sinema's office in particular — continue to be a focus of the federal government's lobbying efforts, which peaked late last year with visits to Washington by multiple emissaries, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

Mary Ng, Canada's international trade minister, left, and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote to top U.S. senators threatening retaliation if the EV tax credit is approved. (Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)

Biden, however, makes no secret of his affinity for blue-collar union workers, nor his ultimate goal of restoring the former lustre of the once-mighty U.S. manufacturing sector. Both, along with reducing carbon emissions, are the principal goals of a tax credit scheme the White House says is close to his heart.

Though he didn't mention EV tax credits specifically, Biden himself signalled strongly on Friday that he hasn't given up on the Build Back Better bill, which is likely to return to the fore at some point in the coming weeks or months.

Whether it will continue to include the tax credits, or the EV vision emerges in a different form, remains an open question.

Responding to the latest jobs report in the U.S., the president reiterated on Friday his vision of a resurgent American manufacturing sector, fuelled by an economy that grows "from the bottom up and the middle out."

"From Day 1, my economic agenda has been different. It's about taking a fundamentally new approach to our economy — one that sees the prosperity of working families as a solution, not the problem," Biden said.

"Let's make what we're selling in America made in America, so we're not at risk of foreign supply chains and shipping delays."

 

Ford posts 7% fall in
2021 U.S. auto sales

January 9, 2021

(Reuters) -Ford Motor Co reported a 6.8% fall in 2021 U.S. vehicle sales on Wednesday, as the automaker struggled to deliver its cars and trucks due to lingering supply-chain bottlenecks and a global chip shortage.

© Reuters/Brendan McDermid FILE PHOTO: Ford logo is seen at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan

The Detroit automaker sold 1,905,955 vehicles in 2021, ending up behind new U.S. leader Toyota Motor Corp and rival General Motors Co. Ford had sold 2,044,744 vehicles a year earlier.

Ford's shares extended losses to trade down about 3% after the sales report.

Total U.S. light vehicle sales for 2021 were just under 15 million, according to Wards Intelligence, below the five-year average of 17.3 million from 2015 to 2019.

Sales of Ford's Mustang Mach-E electric crossover were 27,140 for 2021. The company plans to triple annual production of the electric crossover to more than 200,000 by 2023, to meet better-than-anticipated demand.

Ford has been focusing on its EV strategy and said on Tuesday it would nearly double annual production capacity for its red-hot F-150 Lightning electric pickup to 150,000 vehicles.

Shares of Ford gained about 136% in 2021, outperforming GM's 40.8% rise and EV leader Tesla Inc's 49.7% jump, as investors bet that buyers will lap up the electric version of the F-150.

 

Ottawa says 140 million more
rapid tests heading to the
provinces, territories this month

CBC/Radio-Canada  
Jan 7, 2022

The federal government said today an additional 140 million rapid tests will be delivered to provinces and territories this month.

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the government is now in the process of delivering the tests, which will be allocated to provinces and territories on a per-capita basis.

The 140 million additional tests are enough to provide "one rapid test per week, per person, in Canada for January," he said.

Before December, the government said it had delivered 85 million rapid tests to the provinces and territories. As the Omicron coronavirus variant began to spread rapidly last month, the government pushed out 35 million tests to the regions, said Duclos.

The rush for rapid tests comes as many regions scale back on polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing — the gold standard of COVID testing — due to capacity concerns. PCR tests are mostly offered through assessment centres, hospitals and other health care settings and require lab analysis.

The demand for rapid tests has been outpacing supply. A pop-up in Kitchener, Ont. ran out of rapid test kits within an hour on Tuesday.

Before the Christmas break, Ontario Premier Doug Ford apologized after free COVID-19 rapid tests offered at LCBO stores and other locations in the province "disappeared like rapid fire."

It's not clear exactly how the tests will get to Canadians. Each province and territory is in charge of its own distribution.

 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said rapid tests are going to help the country get through the latest pandemic wave.

"Our job is to procure as many as we possibly can and get them to the provinces free of charge. They will make determinations in delivering them to people," he said. 

"We have certain stockpiles for vulnerable populations and specific usage but the vast majority of rapid tests will be sent to provinces and territories for them to distribute in the best way to serve their citizens."

Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said rapid tests are "simple" devices that can be sold over the counter and the federal government should have done a better job of ensuring they did not run out.

"There should have been hundreds of millions of these tests already being used over the course of the last year and the Trudeau government failed to deliver on that," he told a Facebook Live event. He did not take questions from the press.

O'Toole echoed Trudeau's call for all eligible Canadians to get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Let's be honest, this isn't how anyone wanted to be starting 2022 ... I can tell you as a parent I'm very aware the kids are back in school virtually and I can understand people are frustrated. But I also know that we know how to get through this," Trudeau said.

"We're looking at a better spring as long as we all keep doing our part."

 

 

Local 444 Planning a Rally over
latest closure of Caesars Windsor

Rusty Thompson
January 6, 2021

The head of the union representing workers at Caesars Windsor is planning a rally over the latest closure of Caesars Windsor.

As of 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Caesars Windsor is shutting down operations until Jan. 26 due to provincial restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

Dave Cassidy, President of Unifor Local 444, says he still has 1,000 members not back to work, who have no type of financial assistance available to help them. 

"There's no CERB {Canada Emergency Response Benefit}, they can't reap the benefit off lock down benefit, it's very frustrating. Potentially, the people who were called back might not have enough hours of qualify for EI {Employment Insurance} as well," he says.

Cassidy wants to know what the provincial government is doing for the workers.

"You know our members, they're losing their homes, they're struggling to feed their families. This government is leaving families behind and this really needs to stop," he says.

Cassidy plans to organize a rally over this latest development.

"We need to make sure the people hear the real stories, this government hears the real stories from the workers. Not just from the union president screaming from the top of his lungs, letting people know that this is wrong. They need to hear the human stories and that's what we're going to plan, we're going to have something done by week's end," he adds.

Unifor Local 444 represents roughly 2,200 unionized workers at the casino, which has not operated at full capacity since mid-March 2020.

The casino reopened to the general public on July 23, operating at 50 per cent capacity. As restrictions were eased throughout the summer and into the fall, shows were scheduled for mid-December The Colosseum, but those were also called off due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases.

Unifor Local 444 is set to begin contract negotiations with Caesars Windsor in April.

 

Ford Canada extends vaccine
deadline for employees

January 5, 2021

Ford of Canada has prolonged the deadline for workers to adjust to its COVID-19 mandate to March 28, whereas GM and Stellantis report enormous uptake of the vaccine amongst its staff.

Ford’s coverage was supposed to start Jan. 3. GM and Stellantis deadlines have already handed.

The overwhelming majority of Ford’s hourly and salaried staff have already reported being vaccinated towards the virus, firm spokeswoman Kerri Stoakley stated in an e mail to Automotive Information Canada.

“We’ve got been very inspired by the assist of our staff to adjust to our protocols, together with the roughly 90 per cent of our hourly and salaried workforce who’re absolutely vaccinated,” she wrote.

The corporate didn’t say why the deadline was moved however Unifor, which represents hourly staff at Ford services in Canada, has been preventing for adjustments to the coverage because it was first introduced in October 2021.

The union says the automaker notified it of the deadline change and stated staff can submit a request for lodging for non secular or medical causes ought to they not need to get inoculated. 

Ford stated it could proceed to push its staff to get a shot.

“To encourage vaccination, unvaccinated staff who would not have a company-approved lodging shall be supplied with academic sources together with details about how COVID-19 vaccines work, vaccine security associated to the event of the COVID-19 vaccines, advantages of vaccination towards COVID-19, dangers of not being vaccinated towards COVID-19, and potential unwanted effects of COVID-19 vaccination,” Stoakley stated.

Ford employs about 3,400 folks at its Oakville Meeting Plant exterior Toronto.

STELLANTIS UPTAKE

In the meantime, the “overwhelming majority” of staff at Stellantis services in Canada have complied with  the automaker’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate, the corporate stated.

“[B]ut we’re not disclosing the numbers,” LouAnn Gosselin, head of communications for Stellantis in Canada, stated in an e mail to Automotive Information Canada.

Stellantis now requires all staff, contractors and guests at their Canadian services be absolutely vaccinated towards COVID-19 — they usually should present proof.

The automaker had initially deliberate to bar unvaccinated workers from Canadian websites Dec. 17 after saying the vaccine requirement in mid-October. However Stellantis pushed again the implementation timeline for its necessary vaccination coverage at its Canadian services till Dec. 31, giving staff two additional weeks to conform and the corporate enough time to work by way of exception requests.

“We aren’t commenting on particulars pertaining to the coverage or self-discipline,” Gosselin stated Tuesday.

Gosselin supplied no additional particulars relating to penalties for these not in compliance of the brand new rule. The corporate beforehand stated penalties will prolong to termination however that on a case-by-case foundation it could additionally accommodate searching for an exemption.

In the meantime, the automaker’s minivan plant will stay idled till Jan. 21 ”to align manufacturing with world gross sales,” Gosselin stated.

Its Brampton Meeting Plant, the place the automaker builds the Dodge Challenger and Charger and the Chrysler 300 shall be idle till Jan. 26.

GM started requiring proof of vaccination on Dec. 12. 

Stellantis employs about 6,400 folks on the two vegetation, however a shift is scheduled to be reduce in Windsor this spring.

GM WORKERS ON LEAVE

Unvaccinated staff at Normal Motors’ CAMI Meeting Plant have been pressured onto unpaid leaves of absence following the vaccination deadline, in response to the union that represents hourly staff on the Ingersoll, Ont., plant. 

Mike Van Boekel, Unifor chairperson, confirmed on the time of the deadline that an undisclosed variety of Native 88 members have been place go away, however wouldn’t remark additional. He estimated roughly 100 unvaccinated staff had not secured medical or non secular exemption to the necessary vaccination coverage.

GM Canada wouldn’t touch upon the main points of its coverage for CAMI or its wider community of Canadian services, however stated the “overwhelming majority” of the corporate’s staff have met the necessities.

All instructed, GM employs about 3,800 folks at two vegetation in Ontario.

 

Ford to double F-150 Lightning
production; orders open Thursday

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Jan 4, 2022

Ford Motor Co. will double annual production of the F-150 Lightning in Dearborn once again, the automaker said Tuesday ahead of the first group of reservation holders being invited to begin placing orders for the electric pickup truck Thursday.

Increasing production will bring the output to 150,000 vehicles per year at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in the Blue Oval's hometown after deliveries begin in the spring. The announcement comes as the company has received nearly 200,000 reservations for the first electric version of America's most popular vehicle and as General Motors Co. is set to reveal virtually its all-electric Chevrolet Silverado on Wednesday at the CES trade show in Las Vegas.

"Our teams are working hard and creatively to break production constraints in order to get more F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers,” Kumar Galhotra, Ford's president of the Americas and international markets group, said in a statement. “The reality is clear: People are ready for an all-electric F-150, and Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity.”

Because of the demand, Ford is implementing a wave-by-wave process for customers with reservations to order the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. They will receive an email invitation to order, or they can check their Ford.com account. Those who don't get to order the '22 vehicle will be able to order for future model years. Ford says more than 75% of customers with a Lightning reservation don't already own a Ford vehicle.

Boosting production of the truck that starts at almost $40,000 has been a matter of increasing capacity to build electric vehicle parts, including battery cells, battery trays and electric drive systems with suppliers and at Ford's own Rawsonville Components Plant and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, the automaker said. A task force of employees from manufacturing, purchasing, strategy, product development and capacity planning is working on how to expand the number of vehicles that can be built.

This effort comes after Ford in September said it would invest an additional $250 million and add 450 jobs across all three facilities to increase production to 80,000 vehicles per year. The creation of the electric vehicle center was a part of an initial $700 million investment in the Rouge complex that created 300 jobs.

“The pride and quality UAW members are putting into building the iconic Ford F-150 Lightning is evident in the high pre-production demand for the new F-150 Lightning Electric vehicle,” Chuck Browning, vice president of the United Auto Workers and director of the union's Ford department, said in a statement. “UAW members are leading the way in doubling the amount of vehicles Ford is producing for this game-changing model of our legendary union-built vehicle.”

Ford has entered the final pre-build phase for the Lightning prior to mass production for retail and the launch of the Lightning Pro for commercial customers, whose deliveries will start this spring. The company will use the pre-build trucks for testing more than 1 million collective miles in real-world uses.

The increased capacity will help Ford to achieve a global EV capacity of 600,000 vehicles within the next two years. The E-Transit electric commercial van also will go on sale this spring. The automaker is investing $30 billion in EVs through 2025 and expects to be the country's No. 2 EV seller before 2024.

 

Planning a staycation? You
can claim a tax credit if you
travel in Ontario this year

Lisa Xing 
CBC News
Jan 3, 2022

The provincial government's "staycation tax credit" is now in effect for Ontarians who plan getaways within the province this year.

Announced Nov. 4, the credit aims to boost local business by offering people who book overnight stays in Ontario for anytime in 2022 a return of 20 per cent on accommodation expenses of up to $1,000 per person or $2,000 per family.

Some businesses welcomed the incentive — which works out to a maximum return of $200 per person or $400 per family — saying they hope it can help those hit hardest during COVID-19 restrictions.  

"Everybody suffered," said Renda Abdo, owner of the Lakeside Motel in Prince Edward County, about 200 kilometres northeast of Toronto. "People are still very unsure about travelling on planes and too far away from home, so I think it's perfect timing."

Geoffrey Wild, owner of The Wild Tart pastry shop in Elora, just northwest of Guelph, said the credit could help boost local tourism, which would help a variety of businesses.

"The recent [Omicron] variant, the virus, things like that remind us it's nice we can travel locally, travel around our province," he said

Too late for some

But for some, the credit comes too late.

"They should have introduced it way long ago," said Barry Choi, creator of Moneywehave.com, a personal finance and budget travel blog.  "[Businesses] could have used those dollars in 2021 when things were really hurting." 

Choi said he and his family have done their Ontario travelling already, having just returned home to Toronto from a trip to Ottawa. 

"I'm going to be looking to travel outside Canada," he said. "And I can think of a lot of people who are in the same boat." 

In October, Canada lifted a blanket advisory that had been in place since March 2020 against all non-essential travel outside the country.

More recently, to prevent travel-related infections amid mounting case counts and spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus, the federal government has been advising Canadians to avoid all non-essential international travel.

'This province is the same size as many countries'

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it supports Ontario's 2022 travel tax credit.

"It makes sense to delay it to a time where Ontarians could comfortably and confidently take advantage of it," said Ryan Mallough, senior director of provincial affairs for Ontario with the CFIB.

Wild said Ontario offers something new to see, even for those who have already done some exploring in the province.

"To everybody that says, 'I spent my Ontario travel money,' — my God, this province is the same size as many countries," he said. "So you can't tell me you've done all your travel yet." 

Eligible expenses

On its website, the provincial government lays out the details around eligibility, including that Ontarians can claim the credit for accommodation expenses for "a leisure [not business-related] stay of less than a month," at a short-term accommodation, such as a: hotel, motel, resort, lodge, bed-and-breakfast establishment, cottage or campground.

The stay must occur between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2022, the province says, "regardless of timing of payment."

 

Ontario's minimum hourly
wage now $15

CBC/Radio-Canada
Jan 2, 2022  

As previously announced, Ontario's minimum hourly wage rose to $15 on New Year's Day.

"Ontario's workers deserve a raise, and today we're delivering one," Premier Doug Ford said in a Saturday news release.

"There's no better way to support hard-working Ontarians right now than raising the minimum wage."

The province's minimum wage last rose by 10 cents on Oct 1. On Nov. 1, Ford announced it would rise again from $14.35 to $15. Similarly, the $12.55 minimum wage for workers receiving tips while serving alcohol has also risen to $15.

As a result, the average person working full-time minimum wage hours can expect to make $1,350 more each year. The increase is expected to impact roughly 760,000 workers' wages.

Still, even Ford admitted it isn't enough.

When he announced the change, a reporter asked Ford if he thought he could survive on $15 per hour. No, the premier acknowledged, but "it's a start."

 

GM Oshawa Assembly is alive again

January 1, 2022

The first Silverados inbuilt Oshawa reached seller heaps this month.

The automaker on Dec. 23 stated on Twitter that the truck bearing car identification quantity (VIN) 001 was on its option to Paillé Chevrolet-Buick-GMC in Berthierville, Que., winner of the rights to buy the primary Oshawa-built  Silverado.

Bell couldn’t say what portion of the plant’s output can be destined for Canadian sellers however stated that over time, GM will goal to construct each Silverado bought in Canada in Oshawa.

The one-year turnaround for Oshawa’s retooling was among the many quickest in GM historical past, Bell stated. Much of the automaker’s retooling crew, which generally spends months on-site upgrading a plant, was based mostly within the United States, and couldn’t enter Canada due to COVID-19 restrictions. As a end result, GM shed quite a few extra conventional approaches.

“We weren’t able to get people across the border, and so the team had to be very nimble and creative,” Bell stated.

The crew leveraged the brand new digital norm rather than cross-border journey and used the microchip scarcity to its benefit. When the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ont., was idled due to the provision shortages, for example, GM put among the plant’s workers to work on the retrofits in Oshawa.

Ultimately, personnel put in greater than 1,100 new robots, 500 kilometres {of electrical} wiring and three.1 kilometres of conveyance.

‘BEGINNING OF SOMETHING’

The plant’s new manufacturing crew displays trendy strides towards a extra numerous manufacturing sector. Half of the 1,200 new hires on the plant are ladies.

The consequence is a direct results of the hiring crew’s effort to dispel the longstanding stigma about ladies in manufacturing roles, Bell stated. To promote inclusivity, GM adjusted its job commercials and rooted out bias in its coaching program that favoured physicality over high quality.

“With the equipment, the technology that we have, even building heavy-duty trucks, it’s not about brute strength, it’s really about doing that job right and doing it with a great attention to detail,” Bell stated.

As the brand new hires acquire expertise, he stated, GM will be capable of draw from the pool of feminine expertise to spice up illustration inside its administration. Today, ladies make up about 23 per cent of GM’s international workforce and roughly 20 per cent of its executives, in keeping with the corporate’s 2020 sustainability report.

“Hopefully, this is the beginning of something for the long haul in all of our manufacturing facilities,” Bell stated.

Oshawa will run on a single shift by way of this month earlier than ramping as much as two shifts in early 2022. GM has crammed many of the 1,800 positions obtainable on the plant and is within the ultimate levels of coaching employees on the second shift.

‘CLEAN CANVAS’

Most are new to the five-million-square-foot (465,000-square-metre) plant, although round 500 of the two,300 employees who had been laid off when Oshawa closed in late 2019 retained their recall rights.

Unifor was transitioning the plant’s workforce when the retooling and restart had been introduced, stated union President Jerry Dias. Starting with a comparatively “clean canvas” let Unifor and the corporate work collectively on hiring a various workforce, Dias stated.

A yr after that course of began, when the primary pickup rolled off the road, the variety of younger employees created a palpably expectant environment, he stated.

“It’s not very often that you start a job and you think, ‘Boy, I’m going to be here for a long, long, long time,’ ” Dias stated.

The metropolis of Oshawa might not establish solely as an auto city, however Mayor Dan Carter stated the “psychological factor” of the plant’s reopening has reenergized the group. The restart of manufacturing means the town of 170,000 will proceed to carry a distinguished place within the business, he stated.

“It will be different than it was 30, 40 or 50 years ago, but I think it will play an important role,” Carter stated.

Along with the roles at Oshawa Assembly, elements suppliers within the space have been capable of ramp again up, returning hundreds of jobs, Dias stated. It additionally broadcasts a transparent sign past Oshawa.

“It’s showing … the claim of the death of our auto industry was premature, to say the least,” he stated.

 

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