OTTAWA, March 22, 2017 /CNW/ - United Steelworkers' National Director Ken Neumann says that while the federal budget commits to strengthening Canada's trade remedy system, more must be done to protect jobs in vital economic sectors facing crisis in the industrial heartland and small communities across the country.
"We welcome the government's commitment to modernize Canada's trade remedy system and enhance the right of trade unions to participate in the trade remedy process. But unions must also be able to file anti-dumping and countervailing duty complaints, a right that unions have in other countries such as the United States," Neumann said.
"In the steel industry in particular, by providing unions with the right to both file and participate in trade remedy complaints, Canadian producers will benefit in any trade case they may file."
At the same time, "the government's plan to amend the Investment Canada Act by increasing the net benefit review threshold to $1 billion, two years earlier than planned, does not address the damage already done to the Canadian steel industry," Neumann said.
"The steel crisis has resulted in thousands of lost jobs and retirees being robbed of benefits due to poor public policy on foreign investment and the secret deal between the previous federal government and U.S. Steel."
The looming crisis in softwood lumber should also have been addressed in the budget, Neumann said.
"In the absence of a Softwood Lumber Agreement, forestry-dependent communities could well be decimated as a result of government inaction," he said.
"This budget could have taken concrete steps to put communities first by committing to provide federal loan guarantees to industry in the face of potentially punishing tariffs from the United States. It could have committed to forest community restoration funds, to ease the terrible uncertainty being felt across Canada."
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5991; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org