Bombardier has closed its Thunder Bay facility to assist in the production of 18,000 fans

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Bombardier’s plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario, November 07, 2019. David Jackson for The Globe and Mail.

David Jackson / The Globe and Mail

Bombardier Inc. is helping produce 18,000 Ontario government fans at its temporarily closed plant in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Aircraft and train manufacturer says it will sand, paint and assemble equipment for O-Two Medical Technologies, a Brampton, Ontario-based company that manufactures respiratory care products .

O-Two found its supply chain disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and began looking for help to produce portable fans amid an impending shortage in Canada, Bombardier said in an email .

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The plant plans to begin construction on April 27, with between 40 and 50 employees – most of whom have been temporarily laid off – over a period of three to four months.

The Montreal-based company, which has made 70% of its Canadian workforce available due to the pandemic, has suspended operations at the factory as a non-essential workplace and has ceased worldwide. country.

Employment at the plant, which employed 1,100 workers last summer, is now hovering around 420 after the end of two of its main contracts – for Toronto Transit Commission trams and Metrolinx GO Transit cars – during last months.

The new job will include assembling the display screens and installing the battery boxes, as well as inspecting and shipping to O-Two, who will do the final assembly and testing.

Bombardier shares have hovered above 40 cents in the past three weeks, remaining near their 25-year lows due to credit cuts and $ 9.3 billion in debt.

The company will be reduced to a single source of income – business jets – after announcing the sale of its rail division to French train giant Alstom SA in February, as demand for private aircraft declines amid the economic downturn wider triggered by the epidemic.

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