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Ambassador Bridge shutdown causing concern for Canadian and U.S. businesses

Protest at the Ambassador Bridge international border crossing in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (CTV Windsor) Protest at the Ambassador Bridge international border crossing in Windsor, Ont., on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. (CTV Windsor)
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Businesses associations on both sides of the border are calling for a swift and immediate clearing of the Ambassador Bridge blockade.

In a statement released by a group of over 70 chambers and business associations, the group “urges the federal, provincial, state, and local governments to work collaboratively to deliver rapid solutions to the illegal blockages of traffic, which now include the Ambassador Bridge.”

The border blockade has caused miles-long traffic backups on the I-75 in Michigan. The Detroit Regional Chamber says shops in that area are losing business.

“If you’re trying to get to a business that is on one of these major thoroughfares, you can’t. So that’s directly impacting small businesses,” says Sandy Baruah, Detroit Regional Chamber CEO.

As for the major auto manufacturers in the area, Paruah anticipates manufacturing operations will start to cease. He explains companies usually carry a few days’ worth of surplus supply and with the border closure continuing for the third day, resources are depleting.

“It will not only impact auto sales and economic output on both sides of the border, it could potentially put people out of work,” says Baruah.

Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rakesh Naidu says when you consider the 30-year high inflation rates and numerous lockdowns, the border disruption couldn’t come at a worse time for local business.

“It’s like the last straw on the back of the camel. We are at a breaking point when it comes to businesses,” says Naidu.

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