On April 7, Ontario Premier Doug Ford was present at The Woodbridge Group’s manufacturing facility in Vaughan to help receive the first 1,000 ASTM Level 3 respirator masks — the first batch of personal protective equipment (PPE) produced in Ontario.
“Woodbridge, together with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association, has been working at an unprecedented pace to retool their factories and get the required approvals to manufacture masks for our front line workers,” Ford said in a statement.
This is leadership.
— Kayla Iafelice (@Kayla_Iafelice) April 7, 2020
“We immediately started investing in and encouraging innovation.” – @ikpuri
— McMaster Engineering (@McMasterEng) April 8, 2020
In addition to masks, Ontario factories are also producing ventilators, face shields, and gloves for use by healthcare workers. The production comes as the world faces a global shortage of medical equipment due to COVID-19.
Last Friday, the White House compelled 3M, North America’s largest producer of masks, to stop exporting U.S.-made N95 masks to Canada and Latin America. By the following Monday, 3M said it had already reached an agreement with the Trump administration that allows the company to continue export of N95 masks amid the coronavirus pandemic. But Ontario-based companies, such as the Woodbridge Group, have listened to Ford’s call to step up PPE production to ensure Canada’s front line workers, and most vulnerable, are protected.
N95s are aptly named because they filter out 95 per cent of air particles, including viruses — but they are not produced in Canada. According to Ford, these locally made N96 masks are just as good, or perhaps even better, than 3M’s N95 masks (so much so that Ontario is seeking to have N96 masks certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health).
“I was thrilled to see firsthand the fruition of their hard work and look forward to them ramping up production in the coming days to meet the demands of Ontario and soon other parts of the country,” Ford said of the Woodbridge Group, a producer of polyurethane products, primarily in the automotive sector.
“Their hard work is a true testament to what Ontarians are capable of when we band together.”
In addition to the locally produced masks, 500,000 3M masks were recently released at the border.
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) April 8, 2020
“I am very pleased that a resolution has been reached between 3M and the U.S. administration. I want to thank 3M and officials on both sides of the border for their support to ensure Canada’s continued access to vital PPE,” Ford tweeted.