A manufacturing facility in Vaughan has finished producing 1,000 masks, marking Ontario’s first batch of personal protective equipment produced in the province to combat COVID-19.
Premier Doug Ford toured the facility Tuesday and personally picked up the masks, which are being made by The Woodbridge Group and the Auto Parts Manufacturers’ Association.
They are still awaiting some regulatory approvals, but have received permission from Health Canada to manufacture ASTM Level 3 masks. Officials hope the masks will receive N95 certification.
The masks are being made at facilities in Vaughan and Kitchener.
“I was thrilled to see firsthand the fruition of their hard work and look forward to them ramping up production in the coming days to meet the demands of Ontario and soon other parts of the country,” Ford said in a statement.
“As the world faces a global shortage of medical equipment, Ontario-based companies have stepped up in a big way in order to ensure our frontline workers are protected against COVID-19.”
On March 21, Ford made an appeal to businesses in the province to reach out to the government if they could retool their facilities in order to make medical equipment.
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Businesses are able to apply through the Ontario Together portal.
“While our government continues to pursue and exhaust every avenue available to secure the PPE needed to fight COVID-19, today marks the beginning of Ontario moving towards greater self-sufficiency on vital supplies that will keep us well equipped now and into the future,” Ford said.
On Monday, Ford warned that the province would soon seen the supply of PPE run out and added that three million 3M masks from the U.S. were held up at the border, though 500,000 were released.
Manufacturer 3M later said Canada would continue to receive N95 masks after a deal was reached with the U.S. government.
— With files from The Canadian Press