The world's largest car company was overwhelmed when about 15,000 people lined up in the hope of being taken on at the plant at Oshawa, near Toronto. Word had spread that GM, Canada's 10th-largest employer, was planning to introduce a third shift at its assembly plant - something GM denied.
GM said routine turnover of the labour force meant it would be hiring some time this year and took applicants' details, but it denied job openings were imminent. "At some point during the year we will have to hire and we want to be prepared with a pool of qualified candidates," a GM spokesman said. GM has had a virtual freeze on hiring since 1985.
The company's Canadian operations are forecast to sell more than 440,000 vehicles in the country this year, a 6 per cent rise.
According to the official figures for December, almost 1.36 million people are out of work in Canada, which has a population of 28.2 million. The unemployment rate was 9.6 per cent last month.