Ontario names competitiveness council

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The Ontario government has announced the 10 members of the Premier’s Council on U.S. Trade and Industry Competitiveness.

They are:

  • David Adams, president, Global Automakers of Canada
  • Catherine Cobden, president and CEO, Canadian Steel Producers Association
  • George Gilvesy, director and chairman, Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers
  • Maryscott “Scotty” Greenwood, CEO, Canadian American Business Council
  • Goldy Hyder, president and CEO, Business Council of Canada
  • Brian Kingston, president & CEO, Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association
  • Craig McInnes, president, Teamsters Local Union 938 in Ontario and member of the Teamsters Canada executive board
  • Veso Sobot, former director, corporate affairs at IPEX Management Inc.
  • Flavio Volpe, CEO, Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association
  • Michael Willick, president, M. L. Willick & Associates Ltd.

Ontario premier Doug Ford announced the creation of the council in December 2021, with Unifor national president Jerry Dias as its chairman. It is intended to provide advice and recommendations on the government’s ongoing efforts to rally business leaders, elected officials and labour leaders to protect Ontario’s rights under trade agreements.

“I look forward to beginning this urgent work with the new Council members who have a proven track record of finding real solutions to complicated problems,” said  Dias. “We cannot underestimate the seriousness of the challenge and it will require a combination of stakeholders from all sectors of the economy to defend against U.S. isolationist measures that will hurt workers.”

The province is particularly concerned about sectors such as auto manufacturing, lumber, steel, and agriculture as the U.S. government is considering protectionist measures.

The Premier’s Council chairman, together with the other members, will continue to build on work already undertaken to engage key allies and people with influence across the U.S. The council will work with partners, including the federal government, to ensure Ontario’s case is heard loud and clear in Washington, D.C.

It will also advocate and engage industry partners across the U.S., particularly with Great Lakes states where existing supply chains are inextricably integrated with Ontario industries and vulnerable to disruption by protectionist measures currently being debated by the U.S. Congress.

“We cannot let new legislation in the United States jeopardize decades of cooperation and put workers on both sides of the border at risk,” said Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade.

“Ontario is the third-largest trading partner to the United States, and a critical partner to more than half the states in the union. The new members of the Council, with the full support of our government, will continue to advocate for Ontario against unfair Buy American policies by highlighting the cost of protectionism to businesses on both sides of the border and promoting a Buy North American approach to our auto and other sectors.”