BROCKVILLE, Ontario — Made-in-Ontario N95 respirators have started rolling off the production line at 3M’s Brockville plant. These new masks will provide frontline workers with the protection they need in the continued fight against COVID-19, and ensure Ontario and Canada has a reliable supply in the event of any future outbreaks, the government press release said.
“About 700,000 N95 respirators are being shipped from the plant this week, with the first wave of this vital PPE set to arrive at health care, education and other public-sector institutions. Last year, we committed to doing everything we can to increase the quantity of PPE in Ontario to support our heroic healthcare and frontline workers,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario’s minister of economic development, job creation and trade. “Today, we celebrate a major milestone toward achieving that goal, with a made-in-Ontario solution that creates jobs along the way.”
The first shipment comes just eight months after the governments of Canada and Ontario reached a five-year agreement with 3M last August for the provision of 55 million respirators annually to meet demand for frontline healthcare workers in Ontario and across Canada. Through this partnership, 3M expanded its Brockville manufacturing facility to produce made-in-Ontario N95 respirators. Each level of government invested $23.33 million to support 3M’s capital investment of $70 million.
The Brockville facility will produce enough respirators to meet private sector, provincial and North American market demand throughout the pandemic and beyond. The project created 30 jobs in Brockville, including production operators, maintenance technicians, process engineers, supervisors and quality assurance professionals.
“Canada’s frontline health care workers have demonstrated unmeasurable feats of resilience and perseverance during this pandemic,” said François-Philippe Champagne, Canada’s minister of innovation, science and industry. “It is critical to provide them with the supplies they need to ensure they can safely protect and treat Canadians. Through this investment and contribution agreement with 3M Canada, we will be securing the protective equipment they need to continue their incredible efforts, while investing in Canada’s economy by creating new job opportunities in the community.”
The partnership among the Ontario and federal governments and 3M Canada is an important step toward meeting current and future needs and ensuring a readily available stockpile of N95 respirators. This investment is essential to creating new manufacturing capabilities and jobs, and a strengthened domestic supply chain for vital PPE as Ontario continues on its path of renewal, growth and economic recovery.