Canadian Manufacturing

How realistic is a ‘made-in-Canada’ approach to critical pandemic products?

To help inform prioritization for the twelve recommendations and the many action items that follow, experts were polled to rank the recommendations by urgency and importance.

December 1, 2021  by CM Staff

TORONTO — When the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in March 2020, Canada faced significant challenges in ensuring adequate supplies of products needed to respond to this global emergency.

Realizing A Made in Canada Pandemic Response Products Ecosystem: Action and Impact (Realizing A Made-in Canada Pandemic Response Products Ecosystem) is the second of two reports released by CSA group, Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), and the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) that help to inform the establishment of a pandemic product ecosystem in Canada. The objective of the second report is to understand the feasibility of the twelve recommendations made in the first report, while exploring in greater detail what specific action items are needed. These recommendations and action items addressed issues within three key domains: quality infrastructure, supply chain and sustainability.

To help inform prioritization for the twelve recommendations and the many action items that follow, experts were polled to rank the recommendations by urgency and importance. The top three priorities by urgency and importance included supporting Canadian manufacturers, designing products that are compostable/recyclable/biodegradable, and improving mask design, standards and guidance.

Some of the notable action items included in the report that align with the priority recommendations include: support of Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in designing and manufacturing environmentally friendly products; explore adoption of Buy Canadian public procurement policies; adoption of standards for consumer masks; and the pursuit of communication and education efforts to ensure the more widespread use and acceptance of new mask types.

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“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed many gaps in Canada’s pandemic products ecosystem, but it has also offered us a unique opportunity to learn, prepare and craft a sustainable and self-sufficient ecosystem for the future,” said David Weinstein, President and CEO, CSA Group. “It’s critical that we stay the course and continue to work together to build our domestic production capacity by supporting Canada’s manufacturers while also considering other important factors like environmental sustainability.”

“NGen is pleased to support this collaborative effort to build a more resilient domestic supply of pandemic response products,” said Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “As we continue to unpack the lessons learned from the past year, it is more important than ever to take a multi-disciplinary approach that emphasizes quality infrastructure, standards and sustainability to protect the health and safety of Canadians by ensuring we have the infrastructure required to support PPE manufacturing in Canada.”

This research was conducted by the University of Toronto’s Dalla School of Public Health with input from industry experts and stakeholders throughout Canada.