Sault Ste. Marie MP Terry Sheehan told FirstLocalNews.com that the current situation at Algoma Steel is gaining most of his attention. Sheehan is referring to the announcement of a temporary layoff that could affect hundreds of steelworks following a collapse of a pipe that damaged the number 7 blast furnace on Saturday morning.
“My number one concern when I heard the news was the safety of the workers and I was pleased to hear that no one was hurt. Obviously then, then was to ensure that our federal environment ministry was engaged, which they were, they then employed their processes. The federal environmental agency works with the provincial environmental agency as they are the lead in Canada. We have experts. They’re available 24-7, work around the clock. They’re experts around the world. They’re providing some oversight, some technical support, some advice on the environmental situation.” Sheehan said.
“When I heard that the workers were facing a work stoppage, I was on the phone to the minister’s office, and Service Canada, to make sure that Service Canada employees would be there for the workers, to share information with them and to make sure they understood the eligibility for EI during the stoppage, and also that they could what they call group intakes. Today from 9-4, and Friday 9-4, Service Canada will be at Algoma Steel at the computer labs. They’ll make the presentation and then people can start filling out their forms. If they have problems completing them, questions, staff will be there. ” Sheehan told FirstLocalNews.
“We want to make sure things are done expeditiously, that there’s no unnecessary waits through some error. That’s one thing we don’t want to see. We want to make sure that we support these workers as quickly as possible.
There’s also going to be a virtual session, Friday at 10 a.m. for those people who can’t make it, on site. Service Canada has been working with Algoma, and the union.
Sheehan is also concerned about the environmental impact it will have on the community.
“Any time there’s an industrial accident in Sault Ste. Marie it’s always a concern for people, shared by many. We always have to make sure that we move quickly. In this case, Environment Canada can offer services, advice and technical support to the province which is the lead agency and responsible for this. They’ll continue to work with it and make sure things are dealt with expeditiously. I’m going to continue to work with them. I’ll be getting updates and make sure the environmental concerns are addressed.” Sheehan said.