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October 13, 2009

FOCUS | STEEL

Canadian Steel Producers Association promotes steel as innovative green product

Canada’s steel sector is putting the pedal to the metal in a campaign to highlight the importance of both the product and the industry to the national economy.

The “New Steel” awareness campaign by the Canadian Steel Producers Association will promote steel as an innovative green product essential to local and national economies.

“We want to stress the importance of steel to the general public and government decision makers at both the bureaucratic and political level,” said Ron Watkins, president of the Ottawa-based association.

About 30,000 people are employed in Canada’s steel industry and hundreds of millions of dollars have been invested in new technologies in the past two decades, he said.

“We’re involved in a lot of chains,” said Watkins, noting while steel is a vital product in construction, it is as equally important in auto and other manufacturing.

“With the recession a lot of people have probably forgotten how important manufacturing is to our economy,” he said.

That importance is why the industry has to take an active interest in overall industrial policies, he said.

A major theme of the campaign is the ongoing development of new thinner, lighter and stronger grades of steel, which contribute to sustainability and energy efficiency.

New steels have helped to reduce the weight of vehicles by 25 per cent and are an essential material in renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, solar thermal panels and tidal energy devices, said Watkins.

The association will issue periodic news releases, publishing policy papers and networking with public officials.

It has also commissioned a University of Toronto professor to conduct a study on the issues and challenges that impact the steel industry.

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