A Quebec firm was awarded a 10-year, $113 million contract by the Trudeau government to produce face masks despite having no factories in Canada.
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, medical supplies company AMD Medicom was awarded the contract only days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic.
Although the AMD Medicom headquarters are in Montreal, the masks are produced in China, the United States, Taiwan and France.
In 2019, AMD Medicom closed its last factory in Canada, located in Granby, Quebec. The factory was not reopened when the contract was signed.
According to Blacklock’s, Industry Canada staff testified in June 2020 that AMD Medicom was chosen as the face mask supplier without notice sent to competitors.
Since the deal went public, Canadian manufacturers have expressed their disappointment that firms with Canadian facilities did not have a chance to get the contract.
“As small and medium-sized businesses we want to know, does everybody have the same opportunity to produce personal protective equipment and sell it, or is the federal government picking winners and losers?” Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada President Jocelyn Bamford said to the Commons government operations committee.
AMD Medicom has since secured a $4 million loan from the province of Quebec to open a plant in Montreal. AMD Medicom hired SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. to construct the plant.
It is unclear whether the Montreal plant has started producing masks.
In the meantime, the AMD Medicom deal will keep Canada’s face mask supply in the hands of foreign factories, a situation that has already posed issues for Canada this year.
In May, Health Canada warned that masks produced in China may pose a “health and safety risk” due to their inferior quality.
In April, Ontario Premier Doug Ford promised to end the province’s dependence on foreign-made masks after the American government ordered one company to halt exports to Canada.