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.

Related Articles

A historic step towards greater protections for workers around the world

Canada’s unions join workers everywhere in celebrating today’s historic adoption of a new International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and Recommendation addressing violence and harassment in the world of work. After over a year of negotiations with governments, employers, and workers, the Centenary International Labour Conference adopted the new framework at its convention in Geneva. “It is a historic day,” said…
Read More

Canada’s unions stand with locked out steelworkers in Quebec

The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) fully supports the United Steelworkers (USW) complaint against the Government of Quebec for violating international labour laws and severely impeding the rights of workers. One thousand members of USW have been locked out of their workplace at an aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Quebec for the past 17 months. Over the spring of 2019, Quebec’s Premier François…
Read More

Labour market snapshot: Behind the headlines

How is Canada’s economy really doing?  The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) provides a detailed quarterly analysis of select labour market indicators and what it means for Canada’s workers. In our spring snapshot, the CLC discovers that while job growth in Canada is strong, garnering laudatory headlines, there is a hidden story. While the unemployment rate hovered near 40-year lows, the…
Read More