ADF Group lays off 50 employees after losing U.S. bids amid tariff tensions

TERREBONE, Que. — ADF Group Inc. said Tuesday it has temporarily laid off 50 employees after losing out on major project bids in the United States during the height of tariff tensions.

The move shows that uncertainty on trade policies with the U.S. is having an effect on Canada’s manufacturing industry, said Dennis Darby, CEO of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

“It can’t be overstated that uncertainty with the U.S. about our trading relationship with our biggest trading partner is causing companies to rethink investment. The ADF Group is one of those decisions that companies are making every day.”

Most companies won’t be making public if they’ve lost out on contracts or seen other impacts from the U.S. trade uncertainty, but many are holding back or being more hesitant on spending decisions until there’s more certainty, said Darby.

“Do I expand my production in Canada, do I invest my next dollar of capital in the U.S., do I wait and see where it all ends? We’ve been hearing that from our members across the country.”

There’s been a cloud of uncertainty for manufacturers and exports throughout the renegotiations of NAFTA, which was then heightened when U.S. President Donald Trump said in early March that he would impose tariffs on all steel and aluminum imports.

Trump has since walked back those positions, first allowing temporary exemptions for Canada and Mexico, followed by exemptions for the European Union, South Korea, Argentina, Australia and Brazil.

ADF Group, however, said it lost its bids on major U.S. projects before the U.S. government announced that Canada would be exempted from the tariffs.

Even with the temporary tariff exemption in place, there will continue to be business disruptions while NAFTA is being resolved, said Peter Warrian, a senior research fellow at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

“Even though we’ve got this temporary exemption, until the NAFTA deal is finalized you’ve got an uncertain environment, so how do you make order decisions? How do you make investment decisions?”

He said he wasn’t surprised to hear the ADF Group news given the uncertainty, and that China’s potential responses to tariffs and steel restrictions will mean more uncertainty going forward.

ADF Group, however, said it’s working on several more bids, including for large-scale projects in the U.S. The company said it will be able to recall employees targeted by the temporary layoff as new contracts are signed.

The company manufactures a range of steel products from I-beams to large complex structures. It has two fabrication plants and two paint shops, in Canada and in the United States, along with a construction division in the U.S.

Just Posted

Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

Murder charges laid against woman from the Sunchild First Nation

The 25-year-old female victim was found dead on Dec. 12

Canada caught between 2 powers, feeling alone in the world

TORONTO — First U.S. President Donald Trump attacked Canada on trade. Then… Continue reading

WATCH: CP Holiday Train rolls into Lacombe

Kelly Prescott performed for hundreds of Central Albertans

Fashion Fridays: How to change your beauty routine

Kim XO, lets you in on her style secrets each Fashion Friday on the Black Press Media Network

WHL’s Thunderbirds, Silvertips open to NHL joining Seattle hockey market

TORONTO — The Seattle area’s major junior hockey teams aren’t worried about… Continue reading

Canadian freestyle skier Karker excited for Dew Tour’s modified superpipe

Rachael Karker has a renewed sense of confidence heading into her second… Continue reading

CBS settled with Dushku over ‘Bull’ star’s sexual comments

LOS ANGELES — CBS reached a $9.5 million confidential settlement last year… Continue reading

Kanye reignites Drake feud on Twitter, alleges threats

LOS ANGELES — Kanye West is not sending Christmas cheer to Drake.… Continue reading

Councillors in Toronto, Ottawa vote to allow retail cannabis stores

TORONTO — Councillors in Toronto have voted to allow retail pot shops… Continue reading

Barry Cooper: Separation has become a real possibility, thanks to Ottawa’s abuses

In the past couple of weeks, a retired senior oil executive, Gwyn… Continue reading

Most Read