Ottawa spends $2B to purchase protective equipment for frontline workers

Help is on the way to protect workers on the front lines in the fight against Covid-19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the federal government is spending $2 billion on masks, ventilators, test kits, swabs and gowns. That purchase order all with Canadian manufacturers. The government has signed deals with Thornhill Medical, Medicom and Spartan Bioscience.

“We know that the demand for critical equipment and supplies will grow in the coming weeks,” said Trudeau. “And that means making them at home.” Ottawa also signed letters of intent with five other companies to make more equipment — Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group and Stanfield’s.

Trudeau thanked Canadian manufacturers for rapidly adapting their production lines to make protective equipment.”Our government is focused on coming up with Canadian-made solutions,” said Trudeau. The news comes as the global race for protective gear intensifies.

Minister of Public Services and Procurement, Anita Anand says Ottawa secured 1,570 ventilators, with 4,000 more ventilators on order. “Canadians have never seen procurement like this before, it’s broad-based and it’s aggressive,” said Anand. She added that more ventilators are on the way this week.

Read More: No drastic shortage of medical supplies in Simcoe County

Anand was asked if there’s a shortage of masks. Anand responded by saying Canada has over 60 million masks ordered.

Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, Navdeep Baines says the Federal government is pushing ahead with faster approvals to make sure the Ottawa can help healthcare workers. “We’ve received around 3,000 email from companies asking to help,” said Baines. “Right now Ottawa is focused on building-up domestic capacity before considering helping other jurisdictions with supplies,” added Baines.

Ontario’s healthcare system facing increased pressure

“It’s going to get worse before it gets better,”said Chrystia Freeland, Deputy Prime Minister. We are getting ready for a less-good outcome, but what we need to do today is try our best to avert that,” added Freeland. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam says it is critical that we test more people.

There’s been a rapid increase of severe cases in Ontario with 72 people admitted to the ICU as of Friday. The high rate of hospitalizations in the province was addressed by Premier Doug Ford on Monday. Ford warned that the provincial healthcare system is not ready for a big increase in cases in the coming weeks. Trudeau is optimistic the new supplies will be ready in time to manage the top of the curve, which is expected in the coming days or weeks.

In Ontario, 72 people have been admitted to the ICU (as of Friday)

Trudeau says the government is looking at a number of scenarios, including a worst case scenario. “The decisions you make today will have a direct impact on the needs healthcare professionals will have in a week from now,” said Trudeau.