Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the province needs a strong steel industry – especially one that can help build infrastructure for all Ontarians.
“We are building so much in Ontario right now – $160 billion over 12 years – and there is a lot of steel in that build,” she said in an exclusive interview with The Sault Star.
She was in Sault Ste. Marie Monday as part of an 18-stop, week-long tour of Northern Ontario communities. Monday’s formal announcement dedicated an additional $120 million to modernize Northern Ontario schools, bringing a total commitment to $300 million.
In the interview, Wynne said she believes it’s important that the steel economy in Ontario remain healthy and robust and that’s why the province has been working with Essar Steel for some time.
“It is important to the province that we have access to that high quality Ontario steel at a price that builders can afford,” she said. “We’re committed to the steel industry.”
Wynne acknowledges that the steel industry’s trials and tribulations are an international concern and not just one for Ontario.
The provincial government – pre-insolvency proceedings – provided a $30-million grant to Essar Steel Algoma to use to modernize its steel mill and make it more competitive for the global market.
Wynne recently visited Washington and heard similar concerns about the North American and international steel industry.
She said the federal government needs to also help support and strengthen the steel industry.
“The Prime Minister is very aware of this issue. I’ve met with the American ambassador when I was in Washington and we talked about the importance of a federal-provincial collaboration on steel so we’re very much involved in that discussion,” Wynne said.
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