Algoma Steel received $150 million in combined funding from both the provincial and federal governments on Thursday.
The steel plant received $90 million from the Federal government, as well as a $60 million repayable loan from the provincial government. This money will help create and maintain over 3,000 jobs in the Sault, as well as protect pensions, support environmental agreements, and to help support Algoma in its effort to bring in new technologies, improve productivity and stay competitive on international markets.
The $90 million contribution from the Federal Government includes $60 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and $30 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund, while the Ontario Government portion is coming from the pockets of taxpayers.
Local MPP Ross Romano said this is just one of the continuous ways his government is showing that Ontario is open for business. Romano said he’s proud all of the hard work he’s put in since being elected in June is finally paying off.
“I knew, immediately after getting elected on June 1, that this was a priority, that we needed to get this done,” he said, ensuring that he spoke with Minister Rickford as soon as he could. After many briefings and negotiations, Romano was able to accomplish the goals and promises he’d made during his campaign to fight for the city.
“It took a lot of fighting at the outset, but we were able to work out a deal that was amendable to both sides.”
Romano said he thinks a critical part of this is the pension protection. He said he thinks it’s important to invest in a responsible way when using taxpayer dollars.
“This is an investment into a company that is the second-largest employer in all of Northern Ontario, the largest employer in Sault Ste. Marie, and it was an investment into the families that are supported by this place,” he said. “These are the people who work here, these employees, these pensioners. These are our family members, these are our friends, these are our neighbours, and had we not been able to accomplish the pension relief, we would not be here today.”
“We greatly appreciate the province’s investment in Algoma Steel’s long-term sustainability,” Algoma Steel President and CEO Kaylan Ghosh said. Although it will take approximately two years to finish the investments and reap the benefits of this funding, Ghosh said these projects, which have already been started, are necessary for the sustainability of Algoma Steel for “years and decades to come.”
He admitted that currently, the tariffs are hurting business, but is optimistic that the federal government will find a solution.
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, said this funding really reflects that the government is standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the steel workers and the steel industry.
Bains said this is part of an eight-year, over $600 million commitment to Algoma Steel and its employees. This investment will help secure over 3,000 jobs while helping to create more job opportunities going forward, as well as helping maintain a strong, competitive steel industry in the Sault that can export it’s products both to the U.S. and within the Canadian economy and domestic market.
“It’s really about a long-term investment to make sure that we secure and maintain jobs in Sault Ste. Marie,” he said.
Bains said they’ll continue to engage the U.S. Administration in regards to the tariff issue, as Canada is not a National Security threat. In fact, the U.S. Marines have used steel made right here at Algoma Steel. He said the federal government is continuing to make the tariffs a priority, as they “want to see these unjust and unfair tariffs removed.”
Local MP Terry Sheehan said this funding is good for the steelworkers, the industry, supply chains, and small and medium-sized businesses here in the community.
“By investing in Algoma Steel, we’re ensuring the long-term viability of the Sault’s steel operation, thereby supporting thousands of direct and indirect middle-class jobs, as well as the current and future pensioners that form the backbone of the Sault Ste. Marie and area economy,” he said.
Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford said this funding will ensure that the pensioners have access to a safe reliable pension.
“These are folks who have put 20, 30, 40 years into Algoma Steel and they deserve to have that protection,” he said.
The province has also negotiated an agreement that will require the new owners to identify and address past environmental contamination of the Sault Ste. Marie mill site, contributing $3.8 million annually over 21 years to continue this work. Rickford said these are two “very, important pieces to this.”
“This is the final chapter in what we hope will set Algoma Steel in the right direction.”