Romano lays into Libs for lollygagging on our lead employer's logjam

Published on May 25, 2018

Steel prices are at their highest since 2011. Why is Algoma still under protection from its creditors?

Incumbent Progressive Conservative MPP Ross Romano is accusing the Wynne Liberals of dawdling on getting Essar Steel Algoma Inc. out of insolvency protection.

"Algoma, the lead employer in Sault Ste. Marie with over 2,800 employees and approximately 9,000 pensioners, has been struggling through a period of uncertainty for nearly three years now since the company filed for protection under the Companies Creditor’s Arrangements Act (CCAA) court process," Romano said after handing out doughnuts and coffee Wednesday during a provincial election stop at the steel mill's front gate.

This month, the price for domestic hot-rolled coil steel topped US$800 for the first time since May 2011, reaching US$880 at one point.

"Algoma the company has enjoyed record profits during the same period as steel currently trades at its highest rates in a number of years," Romano said in a written statement.

“CCAA needs to come to a conclusion. I am encouraged by the progress the union and management have made to come to an agreement but there is more work to be done."

But Romano says Ontario isn't carrying its weight.

"It is unfortunate that the Liberal government has dragged their feet and failed to deliver results on the provincial issues that are required to bring CCAA to a conclusion and remain outstanding to date."

"It is important that the environmental liabilities, cap-x issues, pensions and unsecured creditor issues get resolved so that we can all move forward from this difficult process.”

“I believe it is imperative that all those pensioners at Algoma receive what is owed to them in full and I will continue to make that my main priority; to ensure that happens if re-elected as MPP for Sault Ste. Marie."

Romano expressed concern about millions owed by the steel mill to unsecured creditors in the Sault.

"There is $44 million owing to local small and large businesses and these people deserve to be paid. Millions of dollars in municipal taxes remain outstanding and I am committed to make sure those debts are cleared. It’s time that everyone receives their fair share. It is time that all these parties be made whole.” 

The Sault steelmaker produced 185,560 net tons of steel in February, 226,594 net tons in March and 220,648 net tons in April.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and restructuring costs (adjusted EBITDA) totalled about $10.3 million in February, $34 million in March and an estimated $50 million in April.

Ontario's provincial election takes place June 7.

In addition to Romano, other candidates in Sault Ste. Marie are:

  • Lance Brizard, Libertarian
  • Kara Flannigan, Green Party of Ontario
  • Jaclynne Hamel, Ontario Liberal Party
  • Sandra Holmberg, Northern Ontario Party
  • Michele McCleave-Kennedy, Ontario New Democratic Party


By: David Helwig