U.S. steel tariffs are hurting Ontario businesses and workers and need to go. Tenaris has laid off half its workforce. To date, US tariffs have cost Algoma $250 million since they came into effect last year. That’s a million dollars each and every day.U.S.-imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum are hurting businesses, consumers and families here in Sault Ste. Marie and across Ontario — plain and simple. The 17,000 hardworking men and women who work in Ontario’s steel industry don’t deserve this. They need their elected officials to fight tooth and nail for their jobs.
When Minister Freeland visited last week, she voiced support for workers at Algoma and steelmakers across the country. Yet, we learned the same week that the feds have waived tariffs on more American steel imports. The federal finance ministry announced they would waive tariffs on $110 million worth of American steel. This is not the first time this has happened the feds have now waived nearly $400 million in retaliatory tariffs on American steel. These measures harm our Canadian steel industry, and producers like Algoma, while reducing the pressure on the Americans to get rid of their tariffs.
We also learned that the federal government is considering a review of the non-steel retaliatory tariffs, which affect American goods ranging from bourbon to lawnmowers. In February, I stood alongside my colleague, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Todd Smith, and called for exactly this kind of review. The feds attacked us, but now they’re following our advice – even if they won’t admit it. While the Trudeau Liberals grapple with their pre-election drama, our government is doing our part to support the steel industry and call for an end to tariffs.
In January, we announced $60 million in financial support to ensure Algoma Steel remains competitive and sustainable in a tough global market. Our investment helps to secure thousands of jobs and pensions, and signals that Northern Ontario is open for business.
Minister Smith has written to the federal government, calling on them to implement permanent safeguards – measures that are supported by the Canadian Steel Producers Association and the province’s major steelmakers. Premier Ford has engaged with over 20 of his US counterparts, including the governors of Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In late February, he went down to Washington, DC and had the opportunity to meet with US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizier. He made it clear that tariffs are hurting workers and businesses on both sides of the border.
Our government is also providing new opportunities for our steel industry. I had the chance in the legislature last week to ask the Minister of Transportation, Jeff Yurek, about how companies like Algoma Steel can benefit from our historic, $28.5 billion investment in transit. These projects are going to require a lot of steel plate, like the kind produced at Algoma, and the Minister confirmed that Algoma will have a shot at providing it. While this kind of investment does not make up for the losses due to American tariffs, it provides much needed relief after a year of uncertainty.
When the new NAFTA was signed in November, we thought we were done with tariffs. But they remain in place and continue to hurt Ontario workers, families and businesses. Our government will continue to stand up for our steel industry, fight these tariffs, and protect good jobs in Sault Ste. Marie and across the province.
Ross Romano, MPP Sault Ste. Marie