Province to Supply Additional Ontario-Made Masks
July 26, 2021
TORONTO - The Ontario government is continuing to take steps to create a reliable, high-quality supply of locally made surgical masks to help protect workers in the public sector from the risk of COVID-19 and other illnesses. The province recently signed contracts with Viva Healthcare Packaging and Canada Masq to supply 500 million made-in-Ontario level 1 and level 2 surgical/protective masks over the next five years. Following a competitive process, the two companies are each producing approximately 50 million masks per year over the next five years:
Viva Healthcare Packaging Canada, operating in Scarborough, used a grant from the Ontario Together Fund to retool their operations to increase their mask-making capacity. Becoming one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of medical-grade masks has led to the creation of 115 new jobs in the local community.
Canada Masq, based in Richmond Hill, answered the government’s call in the early days of the pandemic for entrepreneurs to create locally-made masks. Early planning of their business started in April 2020, and mass production of masks began in December, adding 58 full-time jobs for the community.
“Ontario manufacturers have a central role to play in our self-sufficiency as a province, not only as we continue to fight COVID-19, but over the years that follow,” said Ross Romano, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “By bringing more Ontario suppliers on board and centralizing procurement, we will ensure healthcare workers always have a steady supply of PPE and that we will never need to rely on another jurisdiction again to keep Ontarians safe.” The government’s contracts with Viva Healthcare and Canada Masq are in addition to those previously announced with 3M Canada and PRIMED. These contracts and more will be overseen centrally by Supply Ontario in the future as the agency continues to be stood up.
The masks have been tested to meet the standards of the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM),
Viva Healthcare Packaging Canada makes nearly 1 million masks per day
Canada Masq makes up to 600,000 masks per day
Procurement of PPE will be one of the first responsibilities to be transferred from the ministry to Supply Ontario, the government’s new centralized procurement agency.
"Ontario is the economic engine of Canada, and our skilled workforce and world-class manufacturing sector can make the emergency supplies right here at home while creating good jobs and contributing to our economic recovery. Because of innovative companies like Viva Healthcare and Canada Masq, our province will be well-equipped with a reliable domestic supply of PPE and other critical supplies to get us through this pandemic and ensure our preparedness for any future challenges." - Vic Fedeli Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade "I’m thrilled that Viva Healthcare Packaging will be providing masks to help protect the people of Ontario from COVID-19, meeting the needs of the healthcare and public sector workers. This initiative is another step in making the province self-sufficient through a reliable, high-quality domestic supply of surgical masks." - Raymond Cho MPP Scarborough North "Our government wants to ensure that health care professionals and frontline workers have the PPE they need to stay safe while doing their critical work. This is an Ontario-made solution that will make sure that we are no longer dependant on unreliable global supply chains while creating good jobs and protecting people across the province." - Daisy Wai MPP for Richmond Hill