Canada to purchase $2 billion in personal protective equipment and medical supplies

Mar 31 2020, 8:42 am

As demands for the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) rises, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will be investing $2 billion to make bulk purchases, as it begins to work with local manufacturers to produce more medical necessities.

Trudeau said he has reached out to 3,000 companies across the country who have offered to help during this critical time.

The companies will help with medical supplies and other necessities such as masks and test kits.

According to Tuesday’s update, the prime minister said that Canada is moving forward with three medical companies who can mobilize the local industry.

“I know this pandemic has been incredibly challenging for people right across the country, but we are also seeing the best of what it means to be Canadian,” said Trudeau.

The medical companies Canada has contracted are Thornhill Medical, Medicom, and Spartan Bioscience.

The prime minister said they would be producing supplies like ventilators, masks, and testing kits.

Canada also signed letter of intents with five companies that include Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group, and Stanfield’s.

Additionally, Alibaba sent 500,000 surgical masks and 100,000 testing kits, and Toys R Us has pledged to provide monitors for babies.

“There is no question we need more masks, ventilators, and testing kits, but how many more we need depends on you,” said Trudeau, who continues to plea for Canadians to stay home and self-isolate. “If you stay home and follow public health recommendations, you can slow the spread.”

“Keep doing your part and help us keep Canada safe.”

On Monday, Trudeau announced that businesses impacted by COVID-19, no matter the size, will be eligible for wage subsidy if revenue has decreased by at least 30%.

Trudeau shared further details on the eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy which was initially introduced last week.

At the time, the federal government said it would increase its wage subsidy for small and medium-sized businesses to 75% to avoid layoffs.

According to Trudeau, this move will be backdated to March 15, and will be in place for up to three months.

Monday’s announcement clarified that no matter the size of the business, if the revenue was decreased by 30%, the government will cover 75% of an employee’s salary on the first $58,700 earned, up to $874 per week.

This also applies to non-profits and charities.

Editor’s note: A previous version of this article erroneously stated Alibaba had provided 500 masks. Alibaba has donated 500,000 masks. The article has been edited to reflect that change. 

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