Sault Chamber Takes Steel and Unfair Trade Discussion to Ottawa

parliament hill

Today, the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce (SSMCOC), along with its counterparts from Windsor – Essex and Hamilton is in Ottawa appearing before the Federal Government’s Standing Committee on International Trade to discuss the impact that unfair trade practices relating to foreign steel is having on communities and supporting businesses.

The three Chambers will join a number of key players in Canada’s steel industry including Essar Steel Algoma, Stelco Inc. Gerdau Long Steel North America and Evraz to discuss how a combination of increased regulation, instability in the global market economy and unfair market behavior by foreign competitors has led to a sharp decline in the ability of the Canadian steel industry to compete globally. Local producer, Tenaris will be presenting before the Committee on Thursday.

The SSMCOC presentation to the Standing Committee will be made by CEO Rory Ring.

Ring notes that the Sault has experienced first-hand, the impact that the steel industry has on all other facets of business, but stresses that the Chamber’s presentation will not focus exclusively on the negative. Ring indicates that “while the impacts of steel dumping will be discussed, innovation and ingenuity that has developed as a result of Canada’s steel industry also needs to be looked at.” He suggests that local success stories like SIS Manufacturing and Heliene, which have sprung from the cluster development of our own local steel industry, demonstrate that there is a strong argument for re-investing in and ensuring the longevity of Canada’s steel manufacturers.”

Recent studies have shown that Canadian steel producers create over 22,000 direct and more than 100,000 indirect jobs through nineteen facilitates across five provinces, with over $14 billion in annual sales.

Ring notes that “the economic impact grows exponentially with steel’s role in supplying industries like automotive, aerospace and oil and gas manufacturing across Canada. According to one study, the steel industry has a multiplier of approximately 3.3:1; meaning that every direct job within the industry supports 3.3 jobs in other sectors.”

Ring explains that since 2011, the city of Sault Ste. Marie has lost 2,500 in population and has not experienced any GDP growth; it has lost over 500 small businesses and is experiencing unemployment higher than the national average, reduced labour market participation and a devaluation in industrial, commercial and residential assessment which impacts the Municipality’s ability to financially meet its service demands.”

The invitation for the three Chambers to appear before the Committee stems from a 2016 policy resolution, jointly submitted to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), by the Sault Ste. Marie, Windsor – Essex and Hamilton Chambers of Commerce. The resolution and its accompanying recommendations were adopted and have since become a key part of the framework for advocacy efforts undertaken by the Canadian Chamber at the national and federal level.

Ring adds that Tuesday’s presentations have received strong support from Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan, who has been a staunch advocate for our local steel industry and steel cluster businesses.

The presentation is scheduled for 3:30pm to 5:30pm on Tuesday, March 21st and will be carried on the Federal Government’s ParlVU at CLICK HERE