Ontario invests $2.8M to ramp up local personal protective equipment production

Jun 2 2020, 11:57 am

The Ontario government is investing in manufacturers to ramp up production for personal protective equipment (PPE) to help frontline workers and communities stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The business community has stepped up,” Ford said on Tuesday.

A few businesses are receiving an additional $2.8 million in financial support through the Ontario Together Fund to retool their processes and increase their capacity to make PPE.

According to Ford, since launching the Ontario Together portal through the fund, 25,000 submissions from businesses across the province have been submitted.

To date, Ford said 15,000 of the proposals have led to $200 million in purchases of medical supplies, four million face shields, 100 million surgical masks, and 20 million gowns.

“We no longer want to be at the mercy of any other country for PPE,” Ford said.

“Our entrepreneurs, businesses and workers are stepping up and unleashing the full strength of Ontario’s manufacturing might ― sometimes doubling or tripling their output and working modern-day miracles in the fight against COVID-19.”

The three new companies are receiving support, the first being Southmedic in Barrie, a medical device manufacturer that distributes to more than 60 countries around the world.

The Province is providing $1.8 million to help the company re-engineer and retool its current production, and purchase new moulding equipment. With this new equipment, the company will double its output of oxygen masks; triple its output of ETCO2 masks, which are specialty masks used to monitor breathing prior to ventilator use; and quadruple its output of eye and face shields to help meet the Province’s need for PPE.

The funding will also allow the company to reorganize its production facility to allow for physical distancing.

Another company is Sterling Industries in Concord, which is a contract manufacturer and assembler of medical devices and subcomponents.

The province is providing $1,023,325, which will allow the company to increase its output of face shields from 200,000 per week to more than one million per week. This increased capacity will help Sterling Industries deliver 10 million face shields to Ontario Health more quickly.

And the third company is SRB Technologies in Pembroke, a producer of self-powered emergency lighting and self-powered exit signs.

The province is providing $59,889 to help the company convert a portion of its production from emergency lighting solutions for the nuclear, aerospace, construction and defence sectors to manufacturing medical-grade face shields, which will be supplied to regional hospitals and long-term care facilities.

On April 1, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations.

According to the province, all submissions received through the portal are being reviewed and prioritized to focus on solutions that can respond to where the need is greatest and what can be implemented quickly.

In March, the government launched the Ontario Together web portal, appealing to Ontario’s manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators to provide essential supplies and equipment to support frontline workers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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