05/20/2015 11:54 EDT | Updated 05/20/2016 05:59 EDT

Secret U.S. Steel deal with Ottawa to stay sealed

The deal between the Canadian government and U.S. Steel that allowed the steelmaker to renege on its obligation to make steel in Canada — at plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke in Ontario — will remain a secret.

An Ontario Superior Court judge ruled that while it is reasonable that the deal be open, for fairness in the ongoing bankruptcy protection process, he dismissed an unsealing motion, saying he didn't have the authority to make that happen. 

In their motion heard at the court a month earlier, lawyers for the United Steelworkers said it would be "fairness 101" to force disclosure of the out-of-court settlement reached between the two sides, after the government took legal action against U.S. Steel for not fulfilling its obligations set out when Stelco was purchased in 2007 by U.S. Steel. 

The written decision from Justice Herman Wilton-Siegel was dated May 19, and posted to the bankruptcy case monitor's website Wednesday morning. He said the "concern" for the union and the City of Hamilton to have all the facts about the steelmaker's Canadian operations, including any deal with the government, was "reasonable and understandable."

That sympathy was eroded when Wilton-Siegel wrote that the court had "no authority" to override the non-disclosure agreements set out in the Investment Canada Act, and was forced to dismiss the motion.