It is a critical time for the glass, glazing and fenestration industries as trade negotiations continue between the U.S. and Canada. The tariffs imposed by both the American government and the Canadian government have increased the cost of building supplies, and Canadian industries are feeling the effects. In a recent letter to Chrystia Freeland, Canadian minister of foreign affairs, five Canadian fenestration organizations implored their government to come to a trade agreement with the U.S.

Fenestration Canada, the Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada, l‘Association de vitrerie et fenestration du Québec, Fenestration Manitoba and the Fenestration Association of B.C. came together to represent the Canadian fenestration industries. Collectively, they are the majority of the Canadian fenestration market. They state that the Canadian government charges of 10 percent on aluminum door and window products have greatly impacted their industry.

According to these organizations, although it may seem like these tariffs are beneficial to Canadian companies, it is actually hurting them. The raw materials used to make these curtainwalls, storefronts, doors and windows are affected by the U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. This increases the cost to manufacture Canadian glazing and fenestration products, putting these extra costs on fabricators. They also warn that this would provoke the U.S. to do the same to products exported from Canada. This is a huge disadvantage to those who export to the U.S., according to the organizations. They predict the consumers will be the ones feeling the rising costs in both countries.

The organizations say they understand the difficulty both the Canadian and U.S. governments are facing with negotiations, but realize that in the end, both countries are being hurt by the tariffs.

“Our key message is that the Canadian tariffs on aluminum window and door products may prove as damaging to our industry as the U.S. tariffs,” says Erin Roberts, executive director of Fenestration Canada.

The organizations support the five initiatives and policies recommended by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on International Trade. Specifically, they recommend that the government make the first three items their primary focus:

  1. Focus on NAFTA renegotiation and concluding a deal;
  2. Exclude manufacturing inputs from retaliatory tariffs;
  3. Introduce safeguards to protect the domestic market against third-country dumping;
  4. Develop emergency relief funds for distressed industries; and
  5. Reinvest tariff revenue into an investment support program.

The letter was signed by all five organizations, with an offer to meet with the government to provide further input on the issue.