Coronavirus Canada updates: Winnipeg-based facility gets $400K to test PPE products

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Coronavirus Canada updates: Quebec reports its most new cases since early June
Coronavirus Canada updates: Quebec reports its most new cases since early June

A multi-purpose facility in Winnipeg has been handed an influx of cash to help certify respiratory products, including medical masks, in Western Canada.

Both the federal government and the province announced an investment of $400,000 to the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre to help improve the supply chain of medical devices in Canada, in the fight against COVID-19.

“Securing our domestic supply chain of Personal Protective Equipment is absolutely essential to the fight against COVID-19,” said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages with the federal Liberals. “This investment from the federal and provincial governments will mean that for the first time, PPE can be tested right in Western Canada. This huge step forward will get PPE into the hands of Canadians six times faster than before, help us prepare for the next stage of the pandemic and ensure that those on the front lines have the tools they need to protect Canadians.”

The funding will be used to improve the medical device supply chain in western Canada. Specialized equipment will be purchased by the OIC to give Canadian manufacturers and healthcare organizations access to accredited testing services for personal protective equipment (PPE.)

With this equipment, the OIC will have the ability to perform numerous standard test methods for evaluating the performance of respiratory products, thereby certifying or approving a product for use in less than two weeks.

The current wait time is twelve weeks.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear that we need local, secure supply chains for critical medical products, including personal protective equipment, which is why we have invested in the development of local N-95 mask production with Precision ADM and others,” said Manitoba’s Crown Services Minister Reg Helwer. “Manitoba’s $200,000 investment in this initiative will help these local companies access rapid testing of these products, ensuring our front-line health providers have the products they need to ensure safe, quality care for patients across the province.”

The Orthopaedic Innovation Centre will perform high-precision testing, measurement, consulting, product development and digital (additive and subtractive) manufacturing services on a cost-recovery basis for the medical, dental, veterinary, aerospace and other high-value industry sectors.

“OIC is extremely grateful for the funding provided by WD and the Province of Manitoba to support this initiative,” said Martin Petrak, CEO of the OIC. “OIC is well-positioned to rapidly become an accredited filter media and respirator testing service in Canada to protect our frontline healthcare workers during this pandemic and future healthcare crises. The OIC has a proven track record for world-class medical device testing which I know will translate to success in this new service offering.”

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