On Monday, the province announced Merit Precision Ltd. will receive the funding to continue its manufacturing. The investment from the $50-million Ontario Together Fund will help create 10 new jobs as 9 machine operators and one manager as well as retain 75 positions, according to Peterborough-Kawartha MP Dave Smith and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
“It’s great to see how Ontario’s manufacturing sector continues to step up and respond with made-in-Ontario solutions in our fight against COVID-19,” Fedeli said. “Companies like Merit Precision are advancing our local supply chains of critical products and bringing their products to market quickly and safely so we can ensure current and future preparedness.”
Merit Precision, an injection moulding company that primarily focuses on the auto industry, will expand its facilities in Peterborough, increasing its capacity to produce bottles for hand sanitizers and disinfectants manufactured in Ontario by Peterborough-based Charlotte Products.
The province says Charlotte Products is facing the challenge of not having enough bottles to meet the growing demand for its cleaning products.
“In the beginning, in March and April, there were three to four months where every day we struggled to procure product and bottling to fulfil our product lines,” said Matthew Strano, Charlotte Products chief executive officer.
“The supply chain has somewhat caught up. We’re going to be prepared that if something happens in a spike in supply again, we’ll have control with Merit to making sure we have product for the bottles and to bring innovation to market and react quicker in having Merit across the street, working hand-in-hand.”
Specifically, Merit Precision is investing in two blow moulding lines, tooling and necessary infrastructure to support its expansion into manufacturing bottles. The company is investing $1.3 million as well into the project, which includes purchasing moulding, automation and bottle-making equipment.
“To be globally competitive and resilient in times of crisis, supply chain partners must be innovative and find new ways to collaborate,” said Tim Barrie, president of Merit Precision. “This investment will help to build an integrated cluster for sanitizers and disinfectant production, ensuring the manufacturer has secure and continuous access to bottles.”
Smith says the investment demonstrates the province’s commitment to a “vibrant manufacturing sector” in Ontario and in his riding.
“It is amazing to see the incredible working partnership between Charlotte Products and Merit Precision Molding, which has facilitated the creation of additional employment opportunities,” Smith said. “These jobs are needed now more than ever, as our community is confronting an increasing unemployment rate.”
The Ontario Together Fund was launched in 2020 to help businesses retool their operations to produce personal-protective equipment (PPE) and develop technology-driven solutions and services to reopen safely amid the pandemic.