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Canadian Crafting: Ford retools Windsor, Ont. plant to make face shields

Windsor, Ontario ⁠— The Ford Motor Company has retooled a portion of its Windsor Engine Plant and begun producing plastic protective face shields for health-care workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The shields will be donated for use in Ontario and the rest of the country, but the first shipments have already gone out locally.

“Ford of Canada has a long history of supporting Canada and its communities in times of need,” Dean Stoneley, president and CEO of Ford Motor Company of Canada, said in a joint statement with Unifor. “By repurposing our production facilities in Windsor to meet the urgent demand for face shields, we can help protect the lives of our heroic health-care professionals and first responders as they continue to treat the most vulnerable among us.”

Ford also confirmed it is still in discussions with provincial and federal governments on how it can further aid the effort to produce medical equipment in short supply.

Local 200 president John D’Agnolo credited the company for being so proactive in meeting the need for emergency equipment.

“They were making them in the U.S. and they brought the design over here,” D’Agnolo said. “We had some prototypes for government officials to study. We actually started producing them a couple of weeks ago to be ready to ship them out once the government approved it.”

So far, 10 workers have been recalled to work on the shields, but D’Agnolo said that number will escalate going forward.

“I’m not sure how many workers will eventually be required,” D’Agnolo said. “Right now we’re in the process of getting the materials we need. The company has to get enough materials onsite before more workers come back.”

D’Agnolo said it’s expected each employee could produce up to 200 shields a day.

“This is Ford recognizing the importance of taking care of our community,” D’Agnolo said. “We should be proud of the company and the workers doing the work. They are ensuring the safety of the front-line workers taking care of the sick.”

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