OTTAWA, April 24, 2017 /CNW/ - Canada's 202,000 forestry workers are waiting with bated breath to see if Prime Minister Trudeau has a plan to deal with U.S. lumber tariffs—which could be levied as early as Tuesday.
"It's hard to exaggerate the impact tariffs will have on hundreds of small communities. The federal government needs to have a plan in place and act swiftly," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
As Canada's third largest export sector, forestry directly employs 202,000 people in every region of the country. The forestry sector's $24-billion positive trade balance represents a quarter of Canada's total trade surplus.
Unifor says that Canada must have a strategy in place to protect the sector and good Canadian jobs, including a contingency plan for illegal U.S. tariffs. The impact of a sharp price increase if tariffs are introduced would be immediate. In the early 2000s when the U.S. imposed a combined duty of 27%, 15,000 Canadians were laid off within months.
"If Canada is caught off-guard by U.S. tariffs, the job losses will number in the thousands. Some communities and regions may never recover," said Scott Doherty, Executive Assistant to Unifor's National President.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at [email protected] or 778-903-6549 (cell).