Ontario has been investing in local manufacturers in order to keep frontline workers and communities safe during the COVID-19 outbreak, and more of these innovative businesses are receiving financial support through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool their processes and increase their capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE).
This is not just a statement on the need for PPE, but it’s a statement on the expertise and technological advancement of these companies that they are able to very quickly pivot their operations from making industrial supplies to PPE.
“Our entrepreneurs, businesses and workers are stepping up and unleashing the full strength of Ontario’s manufacturing might ― sometimes doubling or tripling their output and working modern-day miracles in the fight against COVID-19,” said Premier Ford. “Our government is proud to partner with our champions in the business community to establish ‘made-in-Ontario’ as the gold-standard for medical supplies and equipment here in Canada and around the world.”
The three new companies receiving support are:
Southmedic — Southmedic is a Barrie, Ont. based medical device manufacturer that distributes to more than 60 countries. The province is providing $1.8 million to help the company reengineer and retool its current production, and purchase new moulding equipment. With this new equipment, the company will double its output of oxygen masks, triple its output of ETCO2 masks, which are specialty masks used to monitor breathing prior to ventilator use, and quadruple its output of eye and face shields to help meet the province’s need for PPE. The funding will also allow the company to reorganize its production facility to allow for physical distancing.
Sterling Industries — Sterling Industries is a Concord, Ont. contract manufacturer and assembler of medical devices and sub-components. The company has partnered with Honda in Alliston Ontario (read more about the story here) The province is providing $1,023,325, which will increase its output of face shields from 200,000 per week to more than a million per week. This increased capacity will help Sterling Industries deliver 10 million face shields to Ontario Health more quickly.
SRB Technologies — SRB Technologies is a Pembroke, Ont. producer of self-powered emergency lighting and exit signs. The province is providing $59,889 to help the company convert a portion of its production from emergency lighting solutions for the nuclear, aerospace, construction and defence sectors to manufacturing medical-grade face shields, which will be supplied to regional hospitals and long-term care facilities.
“Ever since the COVID-19 outbreak began, Ontario businesses have shown incredible collaboration, resilience and determination to tackle this crisis,” said Minister Fedeli. “Many of our innovators have stepped up to help produce much needed medical supplies. Now that we’re in the first stage of restarting our economy, I encourage all businesses to keep innovating and review our provincial safety guidelines in order to protect their employees in this new environment.”
On April 1, 2020, the government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to support the development of proposals submitted by businesses and individuals through the Ontario Together web portal and help businesses retool their operations. All submissions received through the portal are being reviewed and prioritized to focus on solutions that can respond to where the need is greatest and what can be implemented quickly.
In March, the government launched the Ontario Together web portal, appealing to Ontario’s manufacturers, entrepreneurs and innovators to provide essential supplies and equipment to support frontline workers in their fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.