The Government of Canada announced that it has contracted General Motors of Canada to provide 10 million face masks over the next year with production to begin immediately. GM Canada will manufacture the face masks at cost at its Oshawa Operations for the Public Health Agency of Canada.
GM Canada received its Medical Device Establishment License on April 22 and the company built and installed the mask making machinery, sourced materials and trained its workers in approximately one month.
Scott Bell, GM Canada president and managing director said, “This is one of the proudest moments in our history to be able to step-up and support all Canadians during this challenging time. With the support and collaboration of the Government of Canada, we will start production in Oshawa today and deliver 10 million face masks to the Public Health Agency of Canada over the next year.”
The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Industry, Science and Innovation said, “Collaboration between government, industry and labour leaders is essential to create economic opportunities for Canadians, while keeping health and safety a top priority. I am incredibly proud of the way Canadian industry has been stepping up to meet Canada’s needs – and General Motors is an excellent example. By retooling a portion of their Oshawa plant, GM is strengthening Canada’s domestic supply for personal protective equipment and contributing to the health of Canadian workers and their families. I am thrilled to announce our signing of this contract to purchase 10 million face masks from GM.”
The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement said, “This important joint initiative between our government and GM demonstrates how Canadian businesses and their employees are answering the call as we face this challenge together. Our government is working hard to procure much needed personal protective equipment now and in the months to come. With this agreement, we are making sure Canada’s frontline healthcare workers know there is a steady and reliable domestic supply of this vital equipment.”
In just over three weeks, with support from GM’s global supply chain, the company sourced materials, built a ‘Canadian Mask Making (CMM)’ clean room with enhanced safety protocols, installed the required equipment, and recalled and trained 60 workers for two shifts of production in Oshawa in partnership with Unifor.
“Unifor members in Oshawa are highly skilled and proud to help GM make whatever our country needs to get through this pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor national president.