Canada’s unions applaud counter-tariffs, welcome support for steel and aluminum workers

June 29, 2018

Canada’s unions are pleased with strong counter-measures announced today by the federal government in support of workers in the steel and aluminum sectors. The counter-measures come in direct response to the illegal, unjustified and unwarranted tariffs on steel and aluminum recently imposed by the U.S.

“We support the federal government’s counter-tariffs as a retaliation to the American bullying tactics. Trump’s tariffs will be damaging to workers on both sides of the border. Unions welcome the Canadian government’s rapid response in defense of Canadian workers as an important first step in protecting workers and communities who will be adversely affected by this misguided attack on Canadian industry,” said CLC President Hassan Yussuff.

In particular, the CLC welcomes the following steps announced today:

  • Measures that aim to reduce lay-offs by extending the maximum period for Work-Sharing agreements from 38 weeks to 76 weeks;
  • Expanded access to retraining and skills development programs to help workers transition to new jobs;
  • Federal loans and loan guarantees from the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada to help companies in the short and medium term; and
  • Investments to diversify export markets overseas and promote the diversification of the steel and aluminum products sectors in Canada.

“The steel and aluminum industries are vital suppliers to the Canadian manufacturing, energy, automotive and construction sectors. Today’s announcement is a good first step to counter the impact of unreasonable U.S. trade demands on workers in Canada. We look forward to working closely with the government to implement further supports for workers as needed,” said Yussuff.

Such additional supports could include an extension of Employment Insurance benefits, wage insurance or “targeted earnings supplements” for workers who find new jobs that pay less, and enhanced mobility assistance, to help workers who have to move or extend their commute to work.

Yussuff also expressed his continued support of immediate action on anti-dumping measures, and advised that the federal government work closely with their provincial and territorial counterparts to develop more robust and targeted training options.

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