Thousands of union members marched against federal telecom rules they fear will allow U.S. giant Verizon to jump into the Canadian wireless market.

Members of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union and Canadian Auto Workers filled the streets in downtown Toronto in front of an Industry Canada office to call on the Conservative government to undo rules opening the telecom market to foreign entry.

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Canadian Auto Workers' outgoing president Ken Lewenza speaks against Verizon Wireless coming to Canada during a rally in Toronto on Friday. (Michelle Siu/The Canadian Press)

The show of force comes one day before the two unions formally merge into Unifor, which will be the country's largest private sector union with more than 300,000 members.

The Conservative government recently eased the rules on foreign investment for wireless companies with less than 10 per cent of the marketplace, paving the way for foreign companies to enter the Canadian market and also buy small Canadian wireless companies.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday there are no special rules or loopholes for foreign companies looking to enter the Canadian market.