The United Steelworkers (USW) welcomes new legislation introduced by the federal government, with a crucial proviso that it must be accompanied by immediate measures to stabilize Canada's steel industry from surges of foreign imports.
"Strong action to defend Canadian workers and producers from unfair trade is needed immediately as part of the government's plan," said USW National Director Ken Neumann.
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau today introduced legislation to temporarily remove a two-year moratorium on the imposition of safeguard measures on imports that were previously subject to safeguards.
The Liberal government decided in April to allow safeguards to expire on imports of five types of steel products, with the result that such safeguards could not be restored for two years, regardless of potential threats to Canada's steel sector.
"We hope the legislation announced today will be passed swiftly in parliament, before the summer recess. In the meantime, Canadian workers and producers need an unequivocal commitment from the federal government that it will implement safeguards or other strong measures to defend our industry," Neumann said.
"The government must signal that it is prepared to retroactively apply safeguards or other measures to protect Canada's steel sector from potential surges in imports," Neumann said.
"It must be emphasized that Canadian workers and producers are being placed at risk due to the federal government's decision to allow safeguards to expire on several types of steel products earlier this spring," Neumann noted.
"These safeguards or other measures must be reintroduced to stabilize Canada's steel sector and defend Canadian workers and producers from surges in foreign imports."
"Even with safeguards, Canada's steel sector will face daunting challenges. Canada cannot continue as one of the few countries in the world that allows foreign steel to flood into its markets. The federal government must protect our producers and our workers."