Ready to Retool: Ontario’s $50m fund will support manufacturing of medical supplies, PPE

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— On Wednesday, Ontario’s provincial government launched the Ontario Together Fund to encourage the province’s manufacturers to retool their operations for the current crisis.

The $50 million fund will “help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations in order to manufacture essential medical supplies and equipment, including gowns, coveralls, masks, face shields, testing equipment and ventilators,” said a press release from the province.

The government will be looking for the most viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario. The one-time fund of $50 million is time-limited and will be available to companies and organizations across the province, so long as the business can manufacture medical equipment.

The province is also asking businesses for their most innovative ideas on aiding the province through the pandemic.

The province has worked with the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association to prompt the production of ventilators, and the province recently ordered 10,000 of the machines from Brampton-based O-Two Medical Technologies.

Premier Doug Ford said the mass mobilization of government, businesses and people to slow the spread of COVID-19 is one of the most ambitious efforts undertaken by the province in generations. On Apr. 1, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more than 3,000 companies nationwide have offered help toward retooling efforts, including Magna International, Martinrea and Linamar.

Ford also said the current state of Ontario is not too far off from that of countries like Spain and Italy, which have seen more than 110,000 confirmed cases of the virus as of Apr. 2.

“We know a surge is coming,” Ford said somberly. “The hard truth is, right now, today, there is very little separating what we will face here in Ontario from the devastation we’ve seen in Italy and Spain. Thousands of lives are at stake. The actions we take today, what we do as a government and as a people, will determine what we face tomorrow.”

At the time of publication, Ontario has 2,793 confirmed cases of COVID-19, while the nationwide total sits at 10,132.

For more information on the Ontario Together Fund, or to submit a proposal, click here.

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