A recently released research paper from the United Steelworkers (USW), The Case for Canada’s Steel Industry, raises a couple of concerns that need to be part of any decision around supporting the steel industry in Canada.
The authors argue Canadian steel has a much smaller carbon footprint than imported steel — between 2 to 4 times less. This is because energy used by Canadian steel manufacturers tends to come from cleaner sources and Canadian manufacturers operate under stricter environmental standards.
From an economic perspective, when indirect employment is factored in, the Canadian steel industry accounts for 100,000 jobs. These tend to be the type of middle-income jobs our economy needs.
When making decisions around whether to support industries like steel, governments need to be considering the whole economy. That means factoring in things like the lower carbon footprint of Canadian steel and the cost of losing 100,000 decent paying jobs.