(The Canadian Press)

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Government has ordered 37 million syringes for a possible vaccine

Planes and boats loaded with personal protective equipment and other COVID-19 supplies continue to arrive in Canada as the federal government moves to increase the domestic stockpile of crucial gear.

Procurement Minister Anita Anand said Tuesday that supply chains for essential equipment have stabilized but Canada continues to press to ensure reliable international sources of goods, while increasing domestic production efforts at the same time.

Canada is in the market for hundreds of millions of pieces of equipment, including gowns, gloves, masks, face shields and hand sanitizer.

Anand said the focus continues to be two-fold: meet short-term needs and be ready for a potential increase in future demand.

“As demand goes up, Canada is keeping up,” Anand said.

Anand said Tuesday the government is also looking ahead to the day a vaccine becomes available, ordering 37 million syringes. It has not yet been determined when they will arrive.

The numbers for most goods on hand are ticking steadily up, though not for ventilators — as of May 26, only 203 had arrived out of the nearly 40,000 ordered.

READ MORE: B.C.’s top doctor urges caution for protesters amid 24 COVID-19 cases, 1 death in two days

Severe forms of COVID-19 often require the use of the assisted-breathing device, and concerns about potential shortages dominated discussions around gear in the early days of the pandemic in Canada.

Anand said the contracts for the ventilators are largely with Canadian companies, and as some companies are retooling to make them, it will be another month before they start arriving.

In their regular procurement updates, the Liberal government has highlighted some of the Canadian companies engaged in production of supplies.

On Tuesday, they singled out The Canadian Shield, from Kitchener, Ont., that has produced 1.2 million face shields so far.

But many of the deals being signed aren’t being made public, signed instead under national security provisions that keep the details — including costs — under wraps.

A spokesperson for Anand’s department said that if the national security exemption wasn’t used, the tenders for the goods would have to remain open for weeks and that just wouldn’t be feasible in the current environment.

Making public all the information around what Canada is buying and from who could also risk the supply of the goods, spokesperson Stefanie Hamel said in an email.

“Considering the fierce global competition for the same products, if we were to disclose information about specific contracts or suppliers, we could jeopardize Canada’s supply chains for these life-saving products, putting our delivery to Canada and into the hands of front-line health-care workers at risk,” Hamel said.

The department said when the risk has passed, the government does intend to provide more information.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bowser attic blaze contained by fire crews

Early-morning stove fire spread to attic

The Old Schoolhouse Arts Centre in Qualicum Beach to re-open on Aug. 11

Hours are Tuesday to Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

COVID-19: SD69 working on how to organize schools for planned fall re-opening

Qualicum School District required to have plan to ministry by Aug. 26

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Missing teen visiting Courtenay found safe

She had last been seen going for a walk on Aug. 6

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read