Registered nurse Cayli Hunt puts on her personal protective equipment prior to entering a COVID positive room in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul's hospital in downtown Vancouver, Tuesday, Apr. 21, 2020. (Jonathan Hayward/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

40 flights carrying PPE have arrived in Canada, Trudeau says

More than 40 flights carrying much-needed personal protective equipment have arrived in Canada over the last 10 weeks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.

“This represents hundreds of thousands of items – everything from masks to hospital gowns – that we’ve shipped to our frontline workers,” Trudeau told reporters in Ottawa.

Trudeau said the government has also formally signed an agreement with auto giant General Motors to produce 10 million face masks at its plant in Oshawa, Ontario.

“As we speak, GM employees are already making these masks,” Trudeau said.

“They will keep people safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19. And for the autoworkers in Oshawa, this contract will support good, well-paying jobs in an industry that’s faced tough times.”

The federal government has also signed a new contract for 10,000 ventilators that are being produced through a partnership between Canadian Nobel Laureate Dr. Art McDonald, his team, and Vexos, an Ontario-based electronics manufacturer, Trudeau said.

Deliveries are expected to begin this summer, bringing the total of made-in-Canada ventilators to 40,000, he added.

As of May 19, data posted by Public Services and Procurement Canada showed only a fraction of the millions of gloves, masks, face shields, ventilators and litres of hand sanitizer ordered by the federal government had so far been received.

For example, of 29,570 ventilators ordered, only 203 had been received.

When it comes to the coveted N95 respirator mask that’s the standard-issue covering for the heath-care profession, upwards of 104 million have been ordered but slightly less than 12 million received and of those, 9.8 million didn’t meet Canadian standards.

With files from The Canadian Press

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