Severely weakened by Canadian sanctions imposed on Russia, a key player in Québec’s aluminum industry is reeling from uncertainty as its calls for help to Ottawa go unanswered.
Posted at 8:00 am
With the summer lull in parliamentary negotiations, STAS is wondering how long it will have to wait before knowing if the Trudeau administration will launch the targeted aid program it’s calling for to stay afloat. The Saguenay-based company supplies high-tech equipment and solutions to the main players in the aluminum industry.
“There is a lot of slowdown, his spokesman Stéphane Tremblay worries. We don’t want to give up our world. There are special times that are agreed. Can we keep up the pace? We want to diversify the markets, but that takes time. »
STAS, which operates in 40 countries, expects to lose 10 million in sales this year. The company has had to put its projects on hold in Russia and cannot be paid by its customer Rusal, the Russian aluminum giant.
Under pressure in recent weeks, the company has officially placed the key under the door of its French sector, another “hard blow”, stresses Mr Tremblay. About 40 people lost their jobs. Mr. Tremblay declined to give a precise figure for the financial assistance requested from Ottawa, but it is counted in millions of dollars.
“We are victims of a political decision,” he says, adding that STAS supports the sanctions.
We say: “Help us leave Russia to punish the country”, but we need a hand.
Stéphane Tremblay, spokesman for STAS
The COVID-19 pandemic has already impacted the company’s sales, which fell from 60 million before the health crisis to 35 million today. The number of employees has increased from 220 to 125.
Jonquière MP, Bloc Québécois Mario Simard proposes the creation of a sectoral fund for companies in the aluminum sector with the $140 million in counter-tariffs imposed in the United States in response to US tariffs on Canadian aluminum in the United States were imposed in 2020.
“The government could at least signal STAS that there will be support,” explains the MP. For now, it’s an end to inadmissibility. The company is considering layoffs in Quebec. »
This know-how does not run on the street. We must not weaken any of the Quebec Cluster’s lungs.
Mario Simard, MP for Jonquière
Mr. Simard confirms that he was told that the Quebec company “is not eligible for any standardized program”. If Ottawa has been able to act quickly with support measures during the pandemic, the Bloc member struggles to understand how a company like STAS is still waiting.
The latter will probably have to be patient. By email, Laurie Bouchard, spokeswoman for Minister for Innovation, Science and Industry François-Philippe Champagne, indicated that the Trudeau government will “continue to support companies looking to explore other markets” through its network of trade commissioners.
The statement of Mr.me Bouchard made no mention of possible financial support.
- This is the number of Russian companies and individuals subject to Canadian sanctions
Source: Global Affairs Canada