The Government Is Doing a Very Canadian Thing for the Softwood Lumber Industry

 The Background 

The Canadian softwood lumber industry hit a major speed bump last month when the U.S. government announced new tariffs on all imported lumber, claiming that ours was unfairly subsidized and was impacting American companies and jobs. The tariffs range from 3% to 24% for five major exporters, while the other companies have to deal with a 19.88% countervailing duty (a.k.a. a tax imposed on certain goods to counter a country’s subsidization) And that adds up. Canadian lumber producers paid a whopping $5 billion in duties at the most recent trade negotiations. CBC

What’s Happening Now

Both the Quebec and Ontario provincial governments begged Ottawa for some help, and since we’re all so Canadian, they obliged. The beat on the street is that the Feds have put together an aid package that’s worth about $1 billion to help offset the new tariffs and duties implemented by the Trump administration. The funds are apparently going towards two things: employment insurance benefits for workers in the affected regions and innovation, so Canadian mills can compete with their American counterparts.

What’s Next?

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland will be announcing details of the package today at 1pm from Ottawa.