Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government has signed deals with three Canadian companies — Thornhill Medical, Medicom and Spartan Bioscience — to make ventilators, surgical masks, test kits and other medical supplies over the coming weeks to cope with the country’s rapidly increasing number of COVID-19 cases.
“We know that the demand for critical equipment and supplies will grow in the coming weeks, so we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products,” Trudeau said this morning.
“And that means making them at home and we’re optimistic that they will be available in the coming weeks.”
Trudeau said Ottawa also has signed letters of intent with five other companies — Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group and Stanfield’s — for more supplies.
The government is allocating $2 billion to buy protective personal equipment — things like more masks and face shields, gowns, ventilators, test kits and swabs and hand sanitizer — in part through bulk purchases with the provinces and territories.
On March 20, the federal government announced its intention to provide monetary support to manufacturers that can retool their assembly lines to make ventilators, masks and other personal protective gear, and to help those already making such products quickly scale up manufacturing capacity.
Trudeau said close to 3,000 companies have reached out to offer their help since then.
“This is a priority for our government and we will continue to source new solutions every day,” he said in his prepared remarks.
“We are expecting shipments to come in in the coming days and we will continue to work tirelessly to get these supplies to where they’re needed.”
International Trade Minister Mary Ng also announced earlier this month that the government is temporarily eliminating tariffs and taxes on all goods imported by public health authorities.