Canada must work closely with the neighbouring United States on ways to help the auto indystry restructure, a top aide to prime minister Stephen Harper has said.

The aide told a briefing that the government expected to have an aid package ready before the next budget, which is due on 27 January, Reuters reported.

The auto industry's needs were most urgent, he said.

"Clearly there is a role for governments of Canada to play in a restructuring of the industry," the aide said, requesting anonymity.

He added: "There'll be no blank cheques, so any assistance... will come with strings attached."

Earlier this week, it was reported that Chrysler might shift vehicles currently built in Canada to spare US plants if the US granted aid and its northern neighbour didn't.