Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is teaming up with a handful of Canadian companies to produce up to 30,000 ventilators — a critical piece of equipment in the battle against COVID-19.
“To keep our frontline workers safe and care for Canadians with COVID-19, we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products, and that means making them at home,” he said during his daily new briefing outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
“We’re working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and a group led by StarFish Medical to produce up to 30,000 made-in-Canada ventilators.”
Trudeau said the government is also working with Canadian astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner Art McDonald, whose team of scientists is trying to create an easier process for making ventilators.
Trudeau’s announcement on ventilators comes on the heels of an announcement by 3M that it had struck a deal with the U.S. government to allow the export of N95 masks to Canada.
The deal came after Canadian officials worked over the weekend to reverse the decision by the United States to invoke the Defence Production Act to force the Minnesota-based company to prioritize orders from the U.S. government for N95 masks, also called particulate respirators, at the expense of foreign orders.
However, it remains unclear what this deal means for exports of other critically needed equipment, such as gowns, gloves and ventilators.
Last week, Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand said the Canadian government ordered close to 1,570 ventilators and was looking to secure thousands more.
Data compiled by CBC News/Radio-Canada suggests that Canada has 7,752 total ventilators across all provinces.