On Tuesday morning, Premier Doug Ford visited Algoma to announce the government’s support in the form of regulatory relief from certain pension obligations under the Pension Benefits Act as well as Pension Benefits Guarantee Fund (PBGF) coverage if certain conditions are satisfied.
The announcement was made by Ford with MPP Ross Romano by his side, as well as in the presence of Algoma Steel’s executive.
The goal is to help protect thousands of steel industry jobs in Sault Ste. Marie and the surrounding communities. Ford’s government stated in a release, “this investment will support the healthy restructuring of Algoma Steel and provide a sustainable future, while supporting thousands of hard-working employees and pensioners in the North.”
“Our government is committed to protecting jobs, and ensuring Algoma remains competitive in a tough market. They are the second largest private-sector employer in Northern Ontario, and the largest in Sault Ste. Marie,” said Ford. “Our government is supporting a successful restructuring at Algoma by taking steps to make sure the company is commercially viable, and a stable source of jobs and economic growth for years to come.”
Algoma’s pension plans support approximately 2,100 current and 6,300 former or retired employees. As the largest private-sector employer in Sault Ste. Marie and the second largest in Northern Ontario, Algoma has approximately 2,700 direct employees.
Although Ford guaranteed media that this would be “really positive” he could not yet specify a number of details. At this time, it is unconfirmed what the exact dollar value of the investment is. “Once we sign on the dotted line we can announce that,” Ford explained. Additionally, the exact conditions upon which regulatory relief from certain pension obligations under the Pensions Benefit Act and PBGF can be accessed are also unsettled at this point. However, Ford assured that they would be minor. In terms of a timeline, Ford’s government did not have an exact date but insisted that talks would continue over the next few weeks and “we are almost there.”
ONNtv and SaultOnline will follow up on updates on this investment as Ford’s government makes this information available.