Time to fix outdated system: Canadian procurement process is hurting Canadians

Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA

CAMBRIDGE, Ontario, Dec. 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Canada’s procurement systems for critical supplies like PPE were unable to cope in the early stages of the global pandemic, and they remain out of step with the realities of our mid-pandemic world, says the Canadian Association of PPE Manufacturers (CAPPEM).

Highlighted by a recent article by Montreal-based La Presse delving into the reasons why the House of Commons is supplying MPs with masks produced in China instead of Canadian-made products, global manufacturing and production has vastly changed since March of 2020.

Pre-pandemic, all most all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplied to Canadian hospitals and other institutions was produced off shore. When the pandemic struck, Canada’s emergency stockpile system failed and global supply chains collapsed leaving healthcare workers and the most vulnerable citizens unprotected.

“In response, the Canadian and provincial governments urged Canadian manufacturers to step up and they did so with massive investment and round-the-clock efforts. In less than a year Canada became self-sufficient in producing critical PPE, but our procurement systems are still rooted in pre-pandemic processes and contractual obligations signed under the duress of pandemic induced shortages,” explains CAPPEM President Barry Hunt.

“That we are still supplying Canadian healthcare workers and even our own government offices with foreign made PPE is hugely problematic because we risk losing our hard-won domestic PPE manufacturing sector, and we continue to rely on inferior products delivered by a shaky and unpredictable global supply chain,” says Mr. Hunt.

While some inroads have been made with the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) recently publishing new bench marks for Canadian PPE, Federal and provincial procurement still relies on outdated tendering criteria that gives advantage to offshore producers who, in some cases, are dumping product below cost into the Canadian market.

“By not recognizing Canadian content or high product standards, our procurement systems are also allowing products of inferior quality into our hospitals and homes, and, far too often, those products are coming from jurisdictions with poor labor and environmental practices,” observes Mr. Hunt.

The necessary fix is to modernize government procurement and supply chains by integrating and embedding domestic manufacturing into an open and transparent buying process, concludes Mr. Hunt who notes Canadians deserve to know where their safety equipment is coming from and that it is safe, ethically produced, affordable and readily available.

CAPPEM represents Canadian manufacturers of PPE including masks, respirators, medical gowns, surgical gloves, disinfectants, and more. Canadian PPE producers invested over $100 million and hired over 1,000 people in response to the pandemic. 

For more information, please contact: danielle.cane@cappem.ca

A photo accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/dddc7a21-64db-468e-af7a-fd72094f9f10

Masks provided to MPs