Canadian Manufacturing

Trade deals getting in way of sustainable planning: CEP

Union says WTO ruling will hinder provincial government's "ability to do what's right"

OTTAWA—As the fallout from the World Trade Organization’s recent ruling against Ontario’s Green Energy Act remains to be seen early on, one of Canada’s largest private sector unions is calling the decision “undemocratic and unacceptable.”

The Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) union came out swinging against the WTO, claiming the international body’s ruling will hinder the provincial government’s “ability to do what’s right.”

“True to its habit, the WTO has ruled in favour of foreign companies who claim to be losing profit over the Ontario government’s Green Energy Act,” CEP national president Dave Coles said in a statement.

“It has never been so clear that these trade deals put profits first, and people and the planet last.”

The WTO ruling was rendered on an appeal filed by Japan and the European Union against Ontario’s Green Energy Act

The act’s feed-in tariff system requires electricity generators to source up to 60 per cent of their equipment in the province to be eligible for subsidies.

“The Ontario Green Energy Act was meant to gear the local economy towards production that would simultaneously create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions: exactly the kind of program that is needed to combat climate disturbances and high unemployment rates,” Coles said.

“Losing this appeal is another example of a trade deal hindering our governments’ ability to do what’s right and a reminder that they should be abandoned.”

The United Steelworkers (USW) union also spoke out against the ruling.

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