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Ottawa signs deal with GM to make 10 million face masks

Last Updated May 26, 2020 at 10:16 am PST

Packages of face masks on April 29, 2020. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

Feds have secured deal with GM to make 10 million face masks

Canada has received 40 flights containing shipments of PPE over last 10 weeks, PM says

Health officials are expecting a rise in demand for PPE as economies reopen

OTTAWA РThe federal government has signed a deal with General Motors to produce 10 million face masks, as the country prepares for a possible second wave of COVID-19.

“As we speak, GM employees are already making these masks. They will keep people safe and help slow the spread of COVID-19,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the announcement Tuesday morning, adding there is also a new deal to produce thousands of ventilators.

Over the last 10 weeks, Canada has received 40 flights containing shipments of PPE, Trudeau said.

“This represents hundreds of thousands of items. Everything from masks to hospital gowns that we’ve shipped to our frontline workers,” he explains.

However, Trudeau adds there are global challenges in securing these vital supplies. That’s why he says the government is making more investments here at in Canada.

Only a fraction of the millions of personal protective equipment, ventilators, and hand sanitizer that Canada has ordered have actually been delivered. Health officials are expecting a rise in demand as economies reopen.

Many have questioned the federal government’s stockpile of PPE throughout the pandemic.

Earlier this month, the Globe and Mail reported federal stockpiles of vital gear were shockingly inadequate in the weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic, and that supplies were only a fraction of what was needed.

Meanwhile, Trudeau has announced he will also be hosting an international meeting with the UN secretary general and other world leaders on Thursday to discuss the worldwide economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday’s announcement comes as debate continues in the House of Commons on how best to continue meeting amid the health crisis. The Conservatives want regular proceedings to take place, but the Liberal government has a motion calling for a continuation of the special COVID-19 committee, which would meet four times a week in a hybrid in-person and virtual system, as well as four sittings in the summer.

A vote on the matter is expected to take place Tuesday.