The Ontario government has announced an investment to support local production of personal protective equipment (PPE), the extremely important equipment used by front-line workers in the province.
Premier Doug Ford said the $ 2.8 million through the Ontario Fund will help manufacturers “retool their processes” and increase their ability to make PPE.
“We are proud to partner with these companies to unleash the true power of the sector and our efforts to definitively defeat this virus,” said Ford at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
The companies receiving funding are all based in Ontario and all manufacture different types of PPE.
Southmedic of Barrie, Ontario is awarded the lion’s share of the $ 1.8 million in funding to purchase new molding equipment that will double their production of oxygen masks and quadruple their production of eye masks and facial.
The second company is Sterling Industries of Concord, Ontario, which will receive $ 1,023,325 to help the company increase its production of face masks from 200,000 per week to over one million.
And producer SRB Technologies of Pembroke, Ont., Gets $ 59,889 to convert part of its production of emergency lighting solutions into the manufacture of medical-grade face shields for hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Ford said that since the launch of the $ 50 million Together for Ontario Fund on April 1, they have received 25,000 bids from companies seeking to reorganize their operations to provide supplies for the province’s fight against COVID -19.
Of the 25,000 submissions, Ford said 15,000 companies sold $ 200 million worth of medical supplies, including 121 million masks, four million face masks, 100 million surgical gloves and 20.9 million gowns.
Ford said the investment “will ensure that Ontario will never again be at the mercy of another country when it comes to personal protective equipment.”
In April, Ford engaged in a war of words with the President of the United States, Donald Trump, over his decision to cease exports of 3M N95 masks to Canada.
An agreement would be reached a few days later between 3M and the White House that would allow Canadians to continue to receive shipments of N95 masks.
Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, considerable efforts have been made to obtain more N95 masks for health care workers in Canada.