BEFORE CHRIST. plant doubles production, ships medical pulp south despite US export ban

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The owner of a British Columbia factory that makes paste for surgical masks, gowns and other medical supplies says the shortage of personal protective equipment is a global problem and that companies should help to the best of their ability.

“Wherever medical supplies are needed and where there is a shortage, everyone should do their part to ensure that they can provide as much medical supplies to the front line as possible,” said Levi Sampson, President from Harmac Pacific.

His comments come at a time when the shortage of medical masks has created political friction between Canada and the United States.

President Donald Trump recently invoked a law that forces American producers of medical supplies to increase production and prioritize orders for American use.

Trudeau confident despite export ban

Manufacturing giant 3M said in a statement on Friday that the White House had told it to stop exporting the equipment to markets in Canada and Latin America, which the White House denied.

3M said sending N95 masks to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where it is a major supplier of respirators, has important humanitarian implications.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Sunday that he was confident that Canada would still be able to import N95 protective masks from the United States despite an export ban.

Trudeau said he plans to speak to Trump about the issue.

The Prime Minister noted that Canada supplies the United States with many products, including mask paste, test kits and gloves, and that Canadian nurses also work in the United States.

Trudeau says it would be detrimental to both nations if the flow of these goods and services stopped.

“Some supply problems”

Meanwhile, 24-hour production at the Sampson plant near Nanaimo, British Columbia, has been diverted to make medical grade pulp. Sampson says the plant doubled production for an American customer in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have never doubled for this quality of dough, so you can see there are supply issues,” said Sampson.

The factory has more than 300 full-time workers and Sampson said the employees are proud to go to work because of the product they produce.

“Every day, it looks like more and more health care professionals are talking about or worried about the lack of supplies in the future,” said Sampson.

Sampson said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called him on Saturday to find out more about the company, where the company’s product is going, and to congratulate Harmac employees “for continuing to operate and being able to produce a product that will eventually make its way to the front lines. . ”

Stress is high

Sampson did not disclose who was the customer of Harmac in the United States, but noted that it was not 3M.

He said that Harmac pulp is unique in the world and because it is a mixture mainly of western red cedar, a soft fiber, it allows it to be mixed with synthetics to make end products like masks. and dresses.

Some of this medical equipment is making its way back to Canada, said Sampson. Stress is high and people around the world are afraid, he said.

“So from a business perspective, we decided to continue operating. We will continue to produce this product and we think our neighbors to the south are going through a rough patch like most of the world is right now and if we can help in any way we want to do it. ”

BEFORE CHRIST. Health Minister Adrian Dix said Friday that Canada and the United States should work together because COVID-19 does not stop at the border.

“I think a parish action like this is not consistent with what we have to do with our society,” he said.

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