Today, March 20th, 2020, the Federal Government announced a new strategy to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19.
This strategy will deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses so they can help the government and the general public during this health crisis.
These measures are aimed at directly supporting businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment; including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.
We are proud to see the government recognizing that engineers are at the forefront of the development of health technology. Combining engineering expertise, knowledge and talent in both the health and manufacturing sector holds enormous promise for tackling diseases such as COVID-19. Working alongside health experts and government officials, we believe engineers can make a valuable contribution to easing this crisis.
Engineers can aid in the development of medical equipment, such as ventilators, but also digital tools and data tracking software that will better help government and medical practitioners make informed decisions.
We’re inspired to see the engineering community take a leadership role and utilize it’s vital talent pool to fight the spread of COVID-19.
OSPE will continue monitoring the current situation and will make sure that the engineering voice and talent is heard by all levels of government.
We hope that through a proactive, collaborative approach, we can minimize the economic and social impact of COVID-19. We encourage our members to share their ideas, stories, impact to their business, and thoughts on what governments and industry can do to help with the economic recovery of our province and country.
Some specific measures outlined by the Government include:
Capacity Building through the Strategic Innovation Fund
- This fund will allow for rapid support to Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage promising research and development projects aimed at providing medical countermeasures to COVID-19.
Enhanced Research and COVID-19 Challenge Program
- The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) will expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises.
- NRC will also organize a COVID-19 Challenge Program, composed of teams of government, academic, and private sector partners, to address a range of medium-term needs of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, therapeutics, and disease tracking technology
- The Innovation Superclusters Initiative will prioritize existing funding and tap into a national network of 1,800 members to help companies commercialize products more quickly
- The Federal Government will challenge innovative companies to develop research-based solutions, technologies, and products that can address a variety of COVID-19 issues.
- Source equipment needed to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 here in Canada. The Government of Canada will use existing supply arrangements and innovative, flexible procurement approaches. It is also reaching out to suppliers to identify and purchase equipment, supplies, and services needed for Canada’s response to COVID-19. With a view to longer-term support, the Government of Canada will ensure procurement flexibility to support innovation and build domestic manufacturing capacity to supply critical health supplies to Canadians.
- The government is calling on businesses that can supply products and services to support Canada’s response to reach out at https://buyandsell.gc.ca/calling-all-suppliers-help-canada-combat-covid-19
The following Canadian companies have signed letters of intent with the Government of Canada to assist in the government’s response to COVID-19:
- Medicom (Montréal)
- Medicom is a manufacturer and distributor of medical-grade personal protection equipment, including masks and gowns.
- Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, the company has operations on three continents, six manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Taiwan and Europe. The company has Health Canada and FDA/CDC certification for its facilities in these locations.
- Medicom is considering starting a production line to manufacture N95 masks and surgical masks in Canada.
- Spartan (Ottawa)
- Spartan manufactures precision medicine diagnostic equipment. The company is headquartered in Ottawa.
- It is currently developing an application of its portable device to provide rapid diagnostic results for COVID-19.
- Thornhill Medical (Toronto)
- Thornhill Medical is medical technology company located in Toronto that manufactures ventilators. It was created as a spin off from the University Health Network.
It manufactures a portable integrated Intensive Care Unit product that includes a unique, oxygen-conserving ventilator and complete vital signs monitoring in a single, portable battery-operated system.
For more on COVID-19 and its affect on engineering in Ontario, visit our COVID-19 news page.