Apr 07, 2020
By Jane Brown
America’s largest manufacturer of medical face masks has come to Canada’s rescue.
Representatives at Minnesota-based 3M have brokered a deal with the Trump administration that would see it continue to provide N95 respirators (medical face masks) to Canada.
U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration had ordered the company to prioritize American demand for the masks during the COVID-19 pandemic, effectively banning shipments to Canada and Latin America. But 3M CEO Mike Roman has apparently been able to reassure Trump’s people that American needs won’t be compromised by having the company continue to fill orders for Canada and Latin America.
Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has lauded 3M for seeking to balance domestic demand with global humanitarian responsibilities.
In a related development, a British Columbia company which usually makes pillows and dog beds, is poised to become the first manufacturer of the N95 medical face mask in Canada.
Novo Textiles, which is located in the Vancouver area city of Coquitlam, will begin producing surgical masks Tuesday. They are planning a first production run of some 100,000 of the medial grade masks and are retooling their manufacturing process with an expectation to begin producing up to 100,000 N95 respirators daily within two weeks.