Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says businesses stepped up to produce personal protective equipment for Canadians, in a June 26, 2020 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada almost self-sufficient in PPE as Canadian businesses step up: PM

Canada still waiting for PPE ordered from China

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadian companies are now producing so much personal protective equipment needed in the fight against COVID-19 that Canada is almost at the point of being self-sufficient.

He’ll underscore that contention today with a visit to a Kanata, Ont., brewery that has retooled to make hand sanitizer during the pandemic.

The visit to Big Rig Brewery, which has used the federal wage subsidy to rehire workers, is also intended to emphasize Trudeau’s repeated plea to businesses to take advantage of the program to get back on their feet. It’s his third visit in as many weeks to a company that’s used the subsidy to hire back laid off employees.

Today’s visit underlines comments Trudeau made during a pre-taped interview that aired Thursday evening at the online Collision tech conference.

He touted the various federal financial support programs aimed at helping businesses survive the pandemic-induced economic shutdown and to promote innovation to help fight the disease.

And he said many Canadian companies have taken advantage of those programs to retool and start producing masks, gowns, ventilators, sanitizer and other personal protective equipment.

Indeed, Trudeau said so many have stepped up that ”even as, like every country, we’re having to import massive amounts of PPE because we didn’t have enough from the beginning, we’re now getting to a place where we’re close to self-sufficient on that and able to turn around and share with the world, particularly the developing world.”

Having a secure domestic supply will be particularly important if there is a second wave of the deadly virus that causes COVID-19 in the fall, triggering another wild, global scramble for PPE.

China is the dominant supplier of PPE. With the outbreak starting in that country, there was a severe shortage of equipment as the disease first started spreading around the world in March. Countries were out-bidding one another for supplies that were often never delivered.

But the Public Services and Procurement Canada website says Canada has still not received anywhere near the quantities of PPE that have been ordered.

As of June 16, 55.7 million face shields had been ordered but only 17.6 million received; more than one billion pairs of gloves ordered but only 42.3 million received; 126.6 million gowns ordered but only 4.6 million received; 20.4 million litres of hand sanitizer ordered but just 7.1 million litres received.

As well, Canada had ordered 121.9 million of the coveted N95 respirators and 340.8 million surgical masks, just 12.9 million and 110.9 million of which respectively had been received. Of the 40,328 ventilators ordered, just 367 had been received.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 26, 2020.

BusinessCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Staff at Stettler Auction Mart keeping busy despite pandemic restrictions

‘We have a lot of technology nowadays so it’s made it a little bit easier to deal with something like this, that’s for sure.’

RCMP remind Albertans to practice rail safety

In 2019, Alberta had the second highest number of total railway crossing incidents

Central zone active cases down to 20

Province provides update

2020 Business & Citizenship recipients announced

Event is hosted by the Stettler Regional Board of Trade & Community Development

Clearview Public Schools has honoured Cindy Zimmermann as the recipient of the 2020 Clearview Star Award

Zimmerman has also gone with Teachers Across Borders to share her talents for a semester in Vietnam

Quirky Canadian comedy ‘Schitt’s Creek’ takes Emmys by storm with comedy sweep

Toronto-raised Daniel Levy and Ottawa-born Annie Murphy both got supporting actor nods

Public health officials urge Canadians to limit contacts again as COVID-19 cases rise

Canada has committed $1 billion to buy at least 154 million doses of vaccines from five different companies

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

RCMP say body located of man who fell in river during stop for photos in Banff

Parks Canada has said the man was from India and living in Canada on a work visa

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Lacombe beekeepers give the buzz on winterizing hives

Winterizing a honeybee hive is not a simple task, local apiarists say

Six injured, man in custody following BB gun incident in Alberta, RCMP say

Airdrie’s downtown core was told to shelter-in-place, while others nearby were asked to stay inside

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Most Read