Ottawa, Ontario – Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union President Ken Lewenza and United Steel Workers (USW) National Director Ken Neumann called for the establishment of a Buy Canadian policy for publicly-funded purchases at a press conference held in Ottawa today.
Both labour leaders said a Buy Canadian policy is a long overdue and necessary measure that would ensure Canadian workers receive maximum benefits from government purchases, including the $12 billion budgeted for infrastructure spending. A Buy Canadian policy would also help level the playing field on international trade with many countries that already have buy domestic policies, including some of Canada’s biggest trading partners like the U.S., Mexico, China, Japan and most member states of the European Union.
The rare joint statement between the two unions followed the latest round of bad economic news as labour market statistics showed Canada lost 129,000 jobs in the month of January, three-quarters of which were in the manufacturing sector.
The CAW and USW are the two largest industrial unions in Canada, together representing nearly half a million workers.