July 8th, 2020
LETTER: Canada Must Produce its own N-95 Masks
Dear Minister Anand,
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, health and government authorities are calling on people to stay safe by wearing masks in their day to day activities. Nurses, doctors, and other frontline workers have raised the alarm over mask shortages. I am writing today in response to your government’s decision to sign a contract with the Oshawa GM plant to produce 1 million masks over 10 months, as announced by the Prime Minister on May 26th. While this news was welcomed, the devil is always in the details.
We know there is a shortage of over 150 million N-95 masks in Canada. Yet the deal to produce PPE at the Oshawa GM plant was for the production of level 1 masks exclusively. This is a puzzling decision, and warrants an explanation.
While a GM plant on the US side of the border is making N-95 masks, the plant in Canada is not producing N-95 masks, which we desperately need. Why should the federal government continue to maintain this shortage when mechanisms exist to ensure the production of N-95 masks at the Oshawa GM plant. In my role as NDP Critic for Public Ownership, I echo the calls made by Green Jobs Oshawa and MPP for Oshawa Jennifer French to call on the government to keep Canadians safe with a made in Canada solution.
The benefits of this are clear. We can save lives, ensure a dependable supply chain, and put Canadians back to work. Canadians are counting on your leadership.
MP Niki Ashton - (Churchill--Keewatinook Aski)