B.C. manufacturer fulfills federal government contract to supply 46M masks
Breathe Medical Manufacturing Ltd. reflects on operation and commits to long-term growth of the emerging medical mask manufacturing industry in Canada
KELOWNA, BC — Kelowna manufacturing company, Breathe Medical Manufacturing Ltd. just completed the last shipment of a contract for 46 million masks with the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) to distribution centres across the country.
“At this time last year we didn’t even have a facility, and had only just secured the federal contract to produce ASTM Level 1 masks that allowed us to set the wheels in motion. We received the keys to an empty warehouse shell in May 2020,” Breathe’s CEO Robert Balazs said in a statement. “Our first round of equipment arrived in June, and production was fully up and running by August. Since then, our team has been working around the clock—we run 24 hours per day, 7 days per week—to provide safe, high-quality masks to front line workers across all sectors. It’s a tremendous accomplishment.”
While the main effort has been focused on completing its commitment to the federal government, the company has also serviced contracts ranging from a few thousand units per month up to the millions of units required monthly in the PHAC contract.
Now Breathe is working with its national and international distributors to supply to additional markets and industries, including provincial and regional health agencies, dental offices, industrial sites, food processors, educational institutions, and health and beauty care facilities that will require ongoing access to safe, high-quality, “made in Canada” PPE long after the COVID-19 pandemic diminishes.
“COVID-19 has taught all of us that Canada needs to establish its own high-quality PPE supply chain. This is after we experienced Canada’s vulnerability, marked by panic buying, lack of inventory, shipping delays, and quality-related recalls at the start of the pandemic last spring,” said Balazs. “Not only that, Breathe is creating high-quality jobs in our communities. Many of our production staff came from industries such as hotels and casinos that were severely impacted by the events of 2020, particularly here in the Okanagan where tourism and hospitality are such a vital part of the local economy. We know we are making a difference right here at home in British Columbia.”