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Dear Premiers: Are You Serious About Supporting Canadian Manufacturing Jobs And Products?

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The Canadian Concrete Pipe & Precast Association (CCPPA) was established in 2013 to represent concrete pipe producers, precast concrete manufacturers, and suppliers to the precast concrete industry. As a not-for-profit association, our mission is to protect and advance our industry and the interests of concrete pipe and precast concrete products used in Canada. COVID-19 has created major challenges for our member companies and CCPPA is working hard to help our members through these difficult times. Our members have concrete pipe and concrete precast plants strategically located across Canada, and have a major economic impact on their local communities; including providing employment and Canadian manufacturing jobs to local residents. Some of these plants are operating well below capacity during COVID-19.

Transportation departments across Canada use large amounts of plastic pipe imported from the United States, and large amounts of corrugated steel pipes manufactured from steel imported from the United States. In the case of the steel pipes, the imported steel accounts for over 80 per cent of the total cost of the finished product. The practice of allowing these foreign products eliminates well-paying Canadian manufacturing jobs in concrete pipe plants in Canada, as well as in Canadian cement plants, Canadian aggregate quarries and Canadian steel plants that manufacture reinforcing steel.

RELATED: Video: Virtual plant tour

We noted with keen interest the recent response from Premier Ford to President Donald Trump’s decision to reinstate 10 per cent tariffs on aluminum imported from Canada. Premier Ford stated, “We will come back swinging like they’ve never seen before.” Premier Ford also called on Ontario manufacturers to more aggressively label their products as ‘Made in Ontario’ to enable customers to make local purchases.

In his fiscal update in mid-July, the then Federal Finance Minister, Bill Morneau, announced that Canada is likely to run a $343 billion deficit in 2021, largely as a result of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), whose combined price tag is now $160 billion. Ontario is projecting its budget deficit will jump to $38.5 billion this year due to COVID-19. Alberta’s deficit is on track to hit $24.2 billion. We are all in this together and we will all be paying for it for many years to come.

The Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) is a subsidy that was initially available for a period of 12 weeks (made up of three four-week periods), from March 15, 2020 to June 6, 2020, that provided a subsidy of 75 per cent of eligible remuneration, paid by an eligible entity (eligible employer) that qualifies, to each eligible employee – up to a maximum of $847 per week. The government has extended the wage subsidy for an additional 24 weeks (i.e., six more four-week periods)

On June 16, 2020 the Federal Government announced that eligibility for benefits under CERB would be extended by an additional eight weeks, bringing the maximum to 24 weeks total. The CERB is a taxable benefit that provides $500 a week for workers who lose their income due to reasons related to COVID-19.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) provides independent analysis on the state of the nation’s finances, the government’s estimates and trends in the Canadian economy. The PBO estimates the cost to extend the maximum
duration of CERB benefits from 16 to 24 weeks under the CERB program to be $17.9 billion. This would bring the total estimated program cost to $71.3 billion.

Total number of applicants for CERB as of August 30th, 2020 across
Canada was 8,697,910.

Ontario 3,451,570
Manitoba 269,580
Saskatchewan 234,670
Alberta 1,046,040
British Columbia 1,161,430

So again, our questions are : Why are Provincial Governments and Canadian municipalities not doing more to help create and protect well-paying Canadian manufacturing jobs amid this pandemic? When Canadians are working, we pay income taxes and sales taxes. We support local businesses, restaurants, and retailers. We support local charities, churches, and food banks. We do not rely on CERB. Our members pay taxes and support local charities, including the Canadian Cancer Society and hospitals.

How serious are you about supporting Canadian manufactured products and Canadian manufacturing jobs amid COVID-19?

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