News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

May 8, 2020

PROVINCE ORDERING UP TO ONE MILLION MADE-IN-MANITOBA REUSABLE N95 MASKS

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Locally Designed and Produced Masks a Manitoba Success Story: Helwer

The Manitoba government is planning to purchase up to one million made-in-Manitoba N95 reusable silicone masks, Central Services Minister Reg Helwer announced today.

“Providing high-quality personal protective equipment to our front-line health-care workers is a priority for our government,” said Helwer. “It is very exciting that we are able to place an order for these reusable N95 masks that were designed and are being produced right here in Manitoba.”

In early April, the government issued an Expression of Interest to determine the interest and capability of manufacturers to complete the manufacturing of reusable N95 masks designed and refined by Manitobans Dr. Christian Petropolis and Dr. Adrian Robertson. The masks are designed to meet the needs of front-line health-care workers who need reliable and comfortable protection. They can also be sterilized after use, allowing them to be reused up to 30 times. Petropolis and Robertson have made their design open source so that others can more quickly access and manufacture this innovative, reusable mask.

After receiving proposals from across the country, Winnipeg-based Precision ADM was selected to finalize the design and produce it in Manitoba at a cost competitive with similar masks produced overseas.

“As a physician, not only do I recognize the critical role our front-line workers have in meeting the health-care needs of Manitobans, they are also my friends, family and colleagues,” said Petropolis, a Winnipeg-based physician and surgeon who developed the design for this reusable mask. “In this time of need, I was happy that I could be of assistance in providing an option with this silicone mask. I have been incredibly impressed with the response of the province as this initiative would not have moved forward without the foresight in funding a locally developed and produced mask.”

“We owe it to the front-line care providers to keep them safe and maintain their confidence in their protective equipment,” added Robertson, medical director of intermediate intensive care at Health Sciences Centre, who led the testing of this new mask design. “This massive co-operative effort between the government of Manitoba, medicine and industry is ensuring we can meet that obligation.”

The Manitoba government has placed an initial order with Precision ADM for 500,000 of the masks, with an option to purchase an additional 500,000 masks over the next 14 months.

“In these unprecedented times, we are all doing our best to stay safe and help our community in any way we can and, as proud Manitobans, Precision ADM is honoured to have the opportunity to manufacture these essential reusable N95 masks for our front line workers,” said Martin Petrak, co-founder and CEO of Precision ADM. “Working with our Manitoba-based partners BOMImed, Melet Plastics Inc., and the Orthopaedic Innovation Centre, we will create a reliable new Canadian secure supply chain to fight COVID-19.”

“This is an extraordinary success story for our province,” Helwer said. “By working together and harnessing the ingenuity of Manitobans, we’re helping keep Manitobans safe and healthy in the face of this global pandemic.”

The Manitoba government continues to call on manufacturers, businesses and other organizations to assist in procurement efforts.

The province is asking manufacturers or businesses to visit the COVID-19 portal at www.gov.mb.ca/covid19/business/index.html if:
•    they can rapidly scale up production or retool manufacturing lines to develop products made in Manitoba to help in the fight against COVID-19; or
•    they have a stock of personal protective equipment that is not being used due to closures and physical distancing.

In addition, Manitoba businesses can donate unused personal protective equipment supplies in original packaging, clean and in useable condition. More information can be found at https://sharedhealthmb.ca/covid19/supply-donations/.

For more information about COVID-19 in Manitoba, visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19 and a comprehensive list of Manitoba government COVID-19 measures can be found at https://manitoba.ca/bg/2020/04/covid19.html.

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