TORONTO — The Ontario government is creating a new council to advise on how to better protect workers and Ontario’s rights under trade agreements with the United States.
Premier Doug Ford says the goal is to protect workers on both sides of the border.
He says the auto industry in particular could be at risk if the co-operation between the U.S. and Ontario stops.
The economic development minister says protectionist measures the U.S. Congress is debating now would harm several local industries including auto, lumber, steel and agriculture industry.
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Vic Fedeli says Ontario is an important economic partner to more than half the states south of the border and the new council will highlight the cost of protectionism to businesses in Ontario and the U.S.
Unifor National President Jerry Dias, who will chair the new council, says the province is at a “critical juncture” in its relationship with the U.S. and there is a need for co-ordinated efforts between the province and the labour unions to protect the local economy.
The value of trade between Ontario and the U.S. was estimated at $358 billion in 2020 amounting to 53 per cent of the total merchandise trade between Canada and the U.S.
© 2021 The Canadian Press