Ontario is demanding the federal government make good on promises to provide billions of dollars in compensation for key industries before ratifying a trans-Pacific free-trade deal.
Premier Kathleen Wynne on Thursday called for Ottawa to provide $1.26-billion for the province's auto sector and $1.4-billion for agricultural producers that will face loss of sales under the 11-country Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
The agreement, which will reduce or eliminate trade barriers among countries that include Japan, Chile and Singapore, is expected to open the Canadian market to cheaper dairy products and auto parts, even as cattle, pork and grain farmers win new access to overseas consumers.
"Our farmers and auto workers should not be placed at a disadvantage by this trade agreement," Ms. Wynne told a Toronto audience on Thursday.
As talks to renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement grind on, the TPP deal and last year's trade agreement with Europe offer a path to diversify Canada's trade ties.
A ratification vote in Parliament has not been set for the TPP deal, which covers a market of 495 million people generating US$13.5-trillion in economic output.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month called TPP "the right deal" for Canada.
The Conservative government first agreed to join the original Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2015 when it included the United States, promising to reduce the impact of lost sales with compensation worth $4.3-billion for Canada's dairy, chicken and other supply-managed farmers over 15 years, and $1-billion for the auto sector.
Ms. Wynne on Thursday called on Ottawa to make good on Ontario's share of these commitments, over 10 years, before the current deal is ratified. TPP "should only be ratified after the federal government has worked with us to put in place the transitional funding that our workers deserve," she said. "That was the plan in 2015 and it needs to still be the plan in 2018."
Ontario's agri-food sector, which includes farms and food factories, is the province's biggest sector by employment, at 800,000. Ontario said the sector stands to lose about $100-million in yearly sales under TPP.
Dairy Farmers of Canada said the federal government is underestimating the effect of TPP concessions on domestic milk producers. The group said the cumulative impacts of trade deals with Europe and the Pacific region will negatively affect "hundreds of thousands" of farmers and dairy workers.
The Ontario auto sector employs more than 100,000 people in assembly and parts production. The province's analysis shows TPP will reduce investment in the auto sector by 2 per cent, reducing yearly gross domestic product by $80-million and possibly eliminating jobs.
The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada has argued that the new trade deal is good for Canadian consumers, in part because it could mean lower prices for vehicles built in Japan and exported to Canada.
But the domestic Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association welcomed Ms. Wynne's call for aid, saying the funding will "rebalance significant negotiating concessions" made in TPP.
- With files from Greg Keenan