As Canada gears up to lobby against US tariffs on steel and aluminum, the federal government is also making moves to bolster the industry here, most recently with the announcement of an investment of $90 million in Algoma Steel. The Ontario government is chipping in with a $60 million loan.
The $90 million federal investment includes up to $60 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $30 million from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada’s Strategic Innovation Fund.
The cash infusion was announced on January 10 by Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains. Based in Sault Ste. Marie, ON, Algoma Steel employs some 3050 steel workers, manufacturing hot and cold rolled steel products including sheet and plate.
The company has a production capacity of four million tons and is Canada’s second largest steel producer. Formerly known as Essar Steel Algoma, it entered bankruptcy protection in 2015 amid slumping steel prices, finally emerging last year under the new name Algoma Steel.
The federal money will help Algoma Steel with its eight-year, $600 million program of capital investments to implement new technologies and improve productivity. The investments will help the company modernize its core production assets, including its steel rolling and steel plate mills, enabling Algoma to offer a wider range of steel grades and increase production capabilities.
The new investment is particularly significant at a time when Ottawa is focusing its efforts to lobby US politicians to end its tariffs on steel and aluminum products, which were imposed on the grounds of US “national security,” an argument Canada’s federal government categorically rejects.
As part of Canada’s latest effort to persuade the US to roll back the tariffs, the Canadian embassy in Washington is in the process of drafting a list of influential US officials and politicians who may be open to the Canadian point of view. Individual federal ministers, reportedly including the ministers of Foreign Affairs, Finance and Defence, in addition to Minister Bains, will be tasked with communicating Canada’s message to the officials on the list.