TORONTO (AP) -- Canada could lose more than 580,000 jobs within five years if the Detroit Three automakers go out of business -- 517,000 of them in Ontario, says a report obtained by the Toronto Star.
The review, prepared for Ontario's Ministry of Economic Development and to be released Tuesday, warns the collapse of General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC would send lasting shock waves through the economy.
If auto output by U.S.-based manufacturers in Canada were cut in half, at least 157,400 jobs would be lost right away, 141,000 of them in Ontario.
By 2014, job losses would rise to 296,000 nationally, including 269,000 in Ontario.
If production were to cease completely, 323,000 jobs would be lost immediately in Canada, including 281,800 in this province, rising to 582,000 nationally and 517,000 in Ontario by 2014.
The Ontario Manufacturing Council, a provincial government panel, commissioned the 11-page report, which was prepared by the Center for Spatial Economics.
The report paints a gloomy picture if the provincial government and Ottawa and Washington do not bail out the automakers.
"The depreciation of the dollar, lower interest rates, and lower production costs eventually help the economy to partially recover (over the following five years, 2015 to 2019) but the loss of the Detroit Three leaves a permanent dent in Canada's economy in terms of jobs and output," the report says.
"For any Canadians who feel that the auto industry is expendable to our economy, this report is a wake-up call," Economic Development Minister Michael Bryant said in an interview Monday.
"This report suggests that even under a scenario where half the auto sector is lost, our economy (in Ontario) basically craters and brings the whole rest of the (Canadian) economy with it," Bryant said.
The damage would extend well beyond the auto and related parts industries to housing and a broad range of consumer spending, said Jayson Myers, an economist who is president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
Japanese-based automakers such as Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co., which already build cars and trucks in Ontario, could not be expected to fill the void left by GM, Ford and Chrysler.
"The economic impacts estimated by this analysis are likely to understate the true economic impact for several reasons, despite the possibility that foreign vehicle producers could expand production in Canada," the report states.