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Ontario creates Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness

December 14, 2021   Maryam Farag

The Ontario government announced the creation of the Premier’s Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness, to be chaired by Unifor National President Jerry Dias, and will provide advice and recommendations on efforts to rally business leaders, elected officials and labour leaders to protect Ontario’s rights under trade agreements.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade and Jerry Dias will work together in the coming days to appoint additional membership to the Council.

“I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Jerry Dias as we work together to protect an integrated economy that employs millions of workers on both sides of the border,” said Premier Doug Ford. “At a time when we’re on the cusp of unleashing the full potential of Ontario’s auto sector as we build an economy that will compete globally, now is not the time to rip up decades of cooperation and put workers on both sides of the border at risk.”

Currently, the U.S. Congress is debating protectionist measures that would threaten industries across Ontario, including auto, lumber, steel, agriculture and more. These measures would impact auto agreements that began in 1965 with the Auto Pact, were solidified in 1994 by NAFTA and re-affirmed in 2020 with the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement. “These agreements have brought prosperity and high-skilled, well-paying jobs to workers and communities across North America for more than half-a-century.”

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“We are at a critical juncture in our relationship with the United States, with coordinated action between government and labour urgently needed to protect jobs and the economy,” said Dias. “Unifor represents members in multiple sectors that rely on integrated trade with America. I look forward to leading this new Council to find solutions on behalf of our members and of all workers across Ontario.”