Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19

March 20, 2020
By Bob Peters
Cornwall Ontario – The COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve rapidly, and the government is mobilizing Canadian businesses and manufacturers to help fight the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of all Canadians.
COVID-19 Business News
“From the very beginning of this outbreak, our priority has been the safety and health of all Canadians,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We’re partnering with Canadian industry and business so we can act fast to ensure our health care providers have the products and supplies they need to help Canadians. Together, we are mobilizing all of Canada to fight the spread of the virus.”

Canada’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to fight COVID-19 will create pathways to deploy resources to domestic manufacturers and businesses so they can help during this critical time.

The Plan introduces new measures to directly support these businesses to rapidly scale up production or re-tool their manufacturing lines to develop products made in Canada that will help in the fight against COVID-19. These products could include critical health and safety supplies and equipment, including personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, and disease tracking technology.

The Plan builds on the Government of Canada’s more than $1 billion COVID-19 Response Fund and the support that has been provided to our health care system since the beginning of the outbreak. It focuses on domestic capacity building, innovative solutions, and procurement of essential supplies. It will:

  • Build the industrial capability needed to manufacture critical supplies at scale in Canada. This will be done either by re-tooling the manufacturing lines of existing Canadian businesses or rapidly scaling up the production of others that already produce these products.
  • Refocus Canada’s existing industrial and innovation programs, by adding to their mandate a requirement that they prioritize the fight against COVID-19. This includes:
    • the Strategic Innovation Fund to deliver direct support to Canadian companies for large-scale projects
    • National Research Council of Canada to expedite research and development with small and medium-sized enterprises
    • Innovation Superclusters to tap into a national network of 1,800 members, and Innovative Solutions Canada to help companies commercialize products more quickly
  • Deliver direct support to key Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage research and development projects aimed, in the immediate term, at producing countermeasures to COVID-19.
  • Challenge innovative companies to develop research-based solutions, technologies, and products that can address a variety of COVID-19 issues.
  • Source equipment needed to support Canada’s response to COVID-19 here in Canada. The Government of Canada will use existing supply arrangements and innovative, flexible procurement approaches. It is also reaching out to suppliers to identify and purchase equipment, supplies, and services needed for Canada’s response to COVID-19. With a view to longer-term support, the Government of Canada will ensure procurement flexibility to support innovation and build domestic manufacturing capacity to supply critical health supplies to Canadians.

“I have heard from many companies that are already feeling impacts of this pandemic,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “Our government is acting quickly to ensure that we are using every possible tool in our toolbox to fight for the health and economic well-being of Canadians and their companies. The initiatives announced today will help strengthen our country’s response to COVID-19 while laying the foundation to protect Canadians into the future.”

These measures are part of a larger strategy the Government of Canada is implementing to protect Canadians and prevent the spread of the virus. This strategy prioritizes the health and safety of Canadians, ensures the capacity of our health care system, and mitigates the economic impacts on Canadians and Canadian business.

Quick Facts

  • On March 11, 2020, the Government of Canada announced a more than $1 billion package to help minimize the health, economic, and social impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, which includes $50 million to help ensure adequate supplies of personal protective equipment for provinces and territories, as well as to address federal needs.
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund will allow for rapid support to Canadian companies that are working on large-scale and later-stage promising research and development projects aimed at providing medical countermeasures to COVID-19, including vaccines and critical medical supplies.
  • The National Research Council of Canada will organize a COVID-19 Challenge Program, composed of teams of government, academic and private sector partners to address a range of medium term needs of the Public Health Agency of Canada and Health Canada. These include personal protective equipment, sanitization products, diagnostic and testing products, therapeutics, and disease tracking technology.

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