CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Auto Pact Dies

History, Business Studies, Social Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To understand the long-term impact of the end of an economic policy
Students will examine the facts leading to the demise of the Auto Pact. They will identify who benefits and who loses as a result of the Pact's end.

Lesson Plan


Since 1964 the Auto pact has resulted in massive growth in the Canadian auto industry. During its latter years, the Pact was modified to accommodate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, in recent years Canada's right to set preferential tariffs was challenged, and the Auto Pact has ended. In this activity, students will examine the current impact, and predict further impact, of the end of the Auto Pact on the Canadian auto industry.

The Task

Using the topic The Auto Pact: En Route to Free Trade from the CBC Digital Archives website, as well as other online resources, students will research and examine the ruling of the World Trade Organization requiring the end of the Auto Pact. They will construct a rationale for Canada's fighting to keep the agreement as well as a rationale for the WTO to reject Canadian arguments.

Once students are familiar with both sides of the issue, present them with the question: "Should Canada be bound by the ruling of an international organization regarding its right to trade how, when, and with whom it pleases? Why or why not?" Have them use their research to answer the question, providing examples to support their points.

Finally, students will analyze the last five years of the Auto Pact and predict the impact of its demise over the next five years. To do this, they will create a timeline illustrating the growth of the auto industry in Canada from 1996-2001 and make a predicted timeline for the five years following the end of the Auto Pact.

The Process

Students may wish to complete their research individually, but will find it useful to work with a partner or in small groups to complete the rest of the task. Allow students to use a variety of methods for constructing their arguments. They might create a list, write several paragraphs, role-play, or debate in order to gain a solid understanding of the two sides and to clarify their arguments. Students should cite the sources they use to support their arguments.


Have students share their timelines and their opinions of the likely impact of the ending of the Auto Pact on Canadian Industry. They should use the information previously gathered to support their position and make a clear prediction regarding their expectations for the Canadian automotive industry in the foreseeable future. Who is likely to benefit from the termination of the agreement? Who will lose ground as a result of the agreement ending?

Related Content

The Avro Arrow: Canada's Broken Dream

It's the closest thing Canadian industry has to a love story and a murder mystery. The Avro Ar...

On Every Front: Canadian Women in the Second ...

Canadian women were not allowed to fight during the Second World War but they did just about e...

The Resilience of Canadian Tire

Since its origins as a family company in 1922, Canadian Tire has become a national icon and a ...

Hog Wild: Canada's Pork Industry

From back bacon to smoked ham, Canada exports over $2 billion of pork, making us one of the wo...

Am I still Canadian? Molson in merger with Co...

Canada's Molson and the United States's Coors are joining forces in a historic merger.

Canada's biggest open pit asbestos mine close...

Residents of Asbestos, Que. protest the closing of the mines.