GM Canada completes order of 10 million face masks for federal government
Nearly 450 GM Canada dealers to each receive 1,000 masks to donate to local organizations across Canada as well.
OSHAWA — On April 8, GM Canada announced that it had fulfilled its commitment to the Government of Canada to produce 10 million face masks at cost for the Public Health Agency of Canada. Since the start of production on May 26, 2020, the team at Oshawa Operations produced approximately one million masks a month to help protect front-line workers and other Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, said: “The last year has shown that in difficult times, Canadians roll their sleeves up together. Canada was in need of PPE, and GM Canada stepped up to be part of the solution by contributing to Canada’s domestic capacity for crucial face masks. I want to thank GM Canada, its workers and Unifor, for playing an important part in Canada’s fight against COVID-19. You are tremendous examples of Canadian kindness and ingenuity.”
Unifor’s National President, Jerry Dias, said, “When Health Canada needed masks urgently to fight the spread of COVID-19, our members were proud to get to work and ramp up production quickly, and these highly skilled workers have shown that they can adapt and step up when needed. This project shows what we can accomplish when the union, government and the employer work together to collaborate, and should the Government of Canada require further orders, Unifor members are ready, willing and able to resume mask production if called upon.”
GM Canada received its Medical Device Establishment License from Health Canada on April 22, 2020, and in just over three weeks with support from GM’s global supply chain, the company sourced materials, built the clean room with enhanced safety protocols, installed the required equipment, and recalled and trained 60 workers for two shifts of production in Oshawa in partnership with Unifor.
The team at Oshawa Assembly is also applying the same agility and efforts to prepare the plant for full-sized pickup production. Announced in November 2020, the plant will receive an investment of C$ 1.3 billion to build a new body shop and flexible assembly module with intention of starting production in January 2022.