Premier Doug Ford appealed to Ontario’s business community Saturday, asking that any company that can produce medical supplies reach out to the provincial government amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“We need ventilators, face masks, surgical gowns, protective eye wear, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, swabs, medical gloves, and lab testing equipment,” Ford said.
“My message to business owners in Ontario is this: If you can retool your business to make these products, if you can supply these essential items, we need to hear from you right now. If you need funding to make it happen, we’ll find a way to help you.”
Ford said there is a shortage of medical supplies and equipment around the world and in Canada.
The provincial government has since launched a web page called Ontario Together where businesses can go and make pitches.
“We know what we need. We know the products that are in short supply. We know what we need here in Ontario and just as important, we know what our neighbouring provinces and what our fellow Canadians need,” Ford said.
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Economic Development Minister Vic Fedeli said alcohol producers have already been making hand sanitizer, and earlier this week officials said auto parts manufacturers were looking to be outfitted with the equipment needed to make ventilators.
Health Minister Christine Elliott said Saturday that Ontario currently has 200 extra ventilators that can be brought to hospitals as needed, and the province just received a shipment of 300 additional ones as well.
Elliott said earlier this week that Ontario’s supply of ventilators is sufficient for the time being, but admitted Saturday that she doesn’t know what the future holds.
“We want our industry to know, your province needs you. Your country needs you,” Ford said.
“And if you give us the tools to fight this virus, we will take it down and our economy will come back stronger than ever before.”
Ford also encouraged manufacturers to implement social distancing policies within their workplaces as much as possible.