SCARBOROUGH — 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.