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Coronavirus: Canada ‘will not be paying’ for sub standard N95 masks, Trudeau says

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau says Canada ‘in discussions’ with Montreal supplier over defective N95 masks
WATCH: Trudeau says Canada ‘in discussions’ with Montreal supplier over defective N95 masks

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will not be paying for N95 masks imported from China which have been deemed unfit for use by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Trudeau made the remarks from Rideau Cottage Saturday morning, saying officials are “checking with the supplier” to see if there are alternative uses for the masks.

But we will not be paying for masks that do not hit the standards that we expect to give to our front line workers,” he said.

Trudeau’s comments come a day after the federal government suspended shipments of N95 masks from a Montreal-based supplier after approximately eight million masks made in China failed to meet specifications.

READ MORE: 8 million N95 masks from a single distributor failed to meet federal standards

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A federal government source clarified that discussions about a possible refund on the masks — or a discount in the event the government can find a use for the supplies — are ongoing.

The office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Friday that of the nearly 11 million masks received from the distributor, about one million met federal standards while another 1.6 million masks were still being tested.

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Anand’s office said none of the approximately eight million masks that fell below federal standards were distributed for medical use.

Okanagan connection leads to large N95 mask donation from school in China
Okanagan connection leads to large N95 mask donation from school in China

Trudeau on Saturday said the decision to suspend shipments from the unnamed supplier is “proof that our system works.”

We are testing all those masks, all those items before they reach our health-care workers because we will not compromise on the safety and protection for health-care workers,” he said.

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The federal government has contracts with several suppliers for a total of 135.5 million masks.

Trudeau on Saturday said Canada has now received 23 planeloads of personal protective equipment.

Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau thanks Taiwan directly for ‘generous’ mask donation
Coronavirus outbreak: Trudeau thanks Taiwan directly for ‘generous’ mask donation

But, the Prime Minister said there is always a risk with imported goods that they may not be up to Canadian standards.

“And this is why we tested them upon arrival before sending them to our front line workers,” he said in French.

Trudeau said Canada is also “ramping up” domestic manufacturing capacity to “ensure that we’re we’re covering the needs that we have for the longer term.”

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–With files from The Canadian Press