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No USMCA Before Tariffs Lifted: Steelworkers

OTTAWA – The federal government must acknowledge the crisis facing Canada’s steel and aluminum industries and refuse to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) unless American ‘national security’ tariffs are permanently repealed, the United Steelworkers (USW) says.

“The Canadian government already lost one opportunity to cancel these absurd tariffs when it failed to do so in the USMCA negotiations. We cannot afford to sell out our steel and aluminum workers again,” said USW National Director Ken Neumann.

“Canada must stand up for tens of thousands of Canadian families whose livelihoods are at stake,” Neumann said. “Our government must take a hard line against the ludicrous U.S. decision to label Canada a national security threat.”

The USW welcomed today’s announcement by federal New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh, calling on the Liberal government to refuse to sign the USMCA unless the U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum are lifted. The NDP also called on the government to ensure there will be no U.S. quotas on Canadian steel and aluminum before the USMCA is signed.

“Our members across the country have already felt the impact of these baseless U.S. tariffs,” said Marty Warren, USW Ontario and Atlantic Canada Director, who joined Singh on Parliament Hill for today’s announcement.

“Producers have been trying to manage the situation, but with the constant uncertainty everyone is facing, our members have been told it is only a matter of time before the tariffs will lead to more layoffs,” Warren said.

“These are well-paying jobs that are vital for our families and our communities. Once these jobs disappear, they may never come back and that’s a risk Canadians can’t take,” he said.

The Canadian steel industry suffers from substantial unused capacity, and with the uncertainty created by the tariffs, there is almost no likelihood that Canadian steel makers will expand their current facilities, Warren added.

Canada’s steel and aluminum industries directly employ 35,000 Canadians and indirectly support another 140,000 Canadian jobs. Canadian manufacturers also are being hurt by the U.S. tariffs, with some layoffs already reported and more severe impacts expected if the situation is not resolved, the USW says.

During the USMCA negotiations, U.S. President Donald Trump acknowledged he was using the baseless national security tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum as leverage to extract concessions from Canada.

While the Canadian government submitted to Trump’s concession demands, it did not insist that the U.S. reciprocate by lifting the unjustified tariffs.

“It is a huge failure that the tariffs remain after the conclusion of the USMCA negotiations,” Neumann said. “Canada must use its remaining leverage and refuse to sign the deal until these absurd tariffs are repealed and quotas are off the table.”

Neumann will appear Thursday before the House of Commons Standing Committee on International Trade to deliver a USW submission on the impact on Canadian workers of the U.S. tariffs.

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For further information:

Ken Neumann, USW National Director, 416-544-5951
Marty Warren, USW Ontario/Atlantic Canada Director, 416-243-8792
Denis St. Pierre, USW Communications, 416-544-5990, 647-522-1630, dstpierre@usw.ca

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416-544-5966 or
416-434-2221

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416-544-5991 

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