Canadian Content Rules Do Not Violate Trade Agreements

November 14, 2008

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Canadian Content Rules Do Not Violate Trade Agreements

Canadian Content Rules Do Not Violate Trade Agreements
dated November 6, 2008

Toronto, Ontario
November 6, 2008

       Legislative bodies from City Hall to the House of Commons are free to enact Buy Canada policies without violating trade agreements, according to a new legal opinion commissioned by the CAW. At a press conference in Toronto Nov 6, international trade law expert, Steve Shrybman of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, announced the findings of the study commissioned by the Canadian Auto Workers union.


Steve Shrybman
Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP

       "There is no impediment under international trade rules to them adopting policies that clearly favour Canadian producers and Canadian services. They can do that by excluding foreign suppliers entirely from the tendering or procurement process or they can set thresholds for Canadian content, Canadian assembly. They can even pay a premium for goods and services that are produced or provided in Canada."

       CAW President Ken Lewenza said this settles the debate over whether or not municipalities, provinces and the federal government can enact Buy Canadian policies.

Ken Lewenza
CAW President

       "We are calling on all levels of government to immediate enact comprehensive "Buy Canadian" policies to keep our tax dollars at home. We simply can not afford not to do it. And when you keep your tax dollars at home you keep your jobs at home and then you grow the tax base. So it is a win-win for Canadians. It's a win-win for the Canadian economy. It is a win-win for Canadian municipalities and it is certainly a victory for workers when they know that the 500 billion dollars of our combined tax dollars are going to be used in emphasizing the manufacturing sector in Canada."

       Other union leaders including Hassan Yussuff, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress and John Cartwright, President of the Toronto and York District Labour Council joined in the call for immediate government action.

Hassan Yussuff
Sec.-Treasurer CLC

       "All of our major trading partners, they have procurement policies in place. We are the only country that doesn't have anything on the books. When you compare that to our number one trading partner, the United States; they have a major policy. The Japanese have a major policy, including the Chinese who are exporting to our market. So it is about time I think we simply say as Canadians we're going to apply the same rules as others apply to their purchases, from the Canadian perspective."


John Cartwright
Pres. Toronto and York Region District Labour Council

       "The reason that Orion Bus these days assembles 67 per cent of its components down in the states, even though it is based in Mississauga is because it is responding to the requirements of the U.S. government to buy U.S.A. If we had equivalent legislation in all of the tenders in municipalities across this country you would see producers starting suddenly to produce those brakes within this area."

       Shrybman said procurement policies are tools the Canadian government at all levels should be using to protect jobs in Canada.

Steve Shrybman
Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP

       "Because such policies make so much sense, most of our trading partners have adopted them. That is certainly true in the United States. And so Canada is lagging behind other international jurisdictions in adopting policies that favour domestic producers and service providers."

       The CAW is now forwarding this legal opinion and a resolution to the various levels of government to ensure that Buy Canadian policies are enacted as soon as possible.

CAW Fighting Back Makes A Difference.

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