Overview pieces: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—May 15, 2020

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Opening statement

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Mr. Chair, thank you for having us here today as part of your committee's ongoing study concerning the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With me is Arianne Reza, Assistant Deputy Minister of Procurement.

We are pleased to be here with our colleagues from the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Our 2 organizations have been working closely during this crisis, with my department focussed on buying the personal protective equipment and medical supplies needed by healthcare professionals on the frontlines.

During her appearance before this committee on April 24, the minister of Public Services and Procurement discussed the highly competitive global environment in which we currently operate.

I will talk about our progress in a moment, but let me first speak to some of the challenges and risks we continue to face.

Challenges and risks

As this committee knows, most of the supplies the world is seeking are manufactured in China. This means we are often receiving product from unfamiliar suppliers, supply chains are extremely strained, and there are significant logistical issues.


In China, supplies are steadily coming into our warehouse with more regularity, and we are seeing the same regularity with cargo flights coming into Canada.

We have seen a total of 30 flights come in to Canada to date.

I can tell you that we continue to build capacity on this front.

Over the last week, we saw a surge of personal protective equipment (PPE) arriving at our warehouse in China.

To help with the surge, we contracted UPS for additional, temporary, on-the-ground logistical support for flights with Canadian air cargo operators. This work was instrumental in getting more flights in during a busy and difficult time.

Recently, we have also started using a second airport in China. Reports so far indicate that the cargo loading and customs clearing processes went very well, and we plan to have more flights depart from that airport in the future.

Mr. Chair, we have also been working with the Public Health Agency of Canada on developing an overall logistics solution to deal with large international shipments arriving by both sea and air, as well as domestic shipments arriving by vehicles.

On May 4, we sent out an invitation to suppliers to submit an expression of interest.

That same day, we sent out a request for proposal (RFP) for additional logistics support at airports in China, to increase capacity in our supply chain.

Meeting Canada's standards

Mr. Chair, when you look at the volumes of supplies coming in now, the vast majority meet Canada's requirements. However, we have had issue with some products that did not meet agreed upon standards.

Notably, we received an order of approximately 11 million KN95 masks from one supplier, and more than 9 million of those masks did not meet performance standards for that grade of mask. We have since suspended all further shipments of KN95 masks from the supplier.

While many of these masks are perfectly fine for a variety of uses, I want to reconfirm that none were distributed for medical use.

As my colleagues from the Public Health Agency of Canada can tell you, only when products are deemed effective and safe are they distributed to the frontlines.

Progress and look ahead

Before I talk about our progress on the procurement side, I would like to address the type of information we publish and divulge.

Most of our COVID-19 related procurements are being done under a national security exception (NSE) meaning that many solicitation documents are not published.

Importantly, the NSE allows us to move more quickly to protect the safety and security of Canadians during this unprecedented situation. It also helps to reduce risk in a highly competitive and volatile global supply chain.

It's important to note that similar procurement flexibilities are being applied by other countries around the world.

I will highlight that we are posting some solicitation documents, particularly in cases where we need to broaden our search for information or sources of supply. The invitation to suppliers and RFP for logistics services I mentioned earlier are perfect examples.

We want to be as transparent and open as we can on this front.

We have publicly announced several contracts and we will continue to do so. We have also been posting details of our orders and deliveries of key supplies online, to be updated this afternoon with the latest numbers.

In terms of deliveries, we have received a significant amount of PPE like millions of masks and gloves, as well as a good number of ventilators, and more. Those quantities represent what we have received in our warehouse prior to testing.

We are also making progress when it comes to awarding contracts to Canadian companies that have answered the government's call to action.

Since we last met, my department finalized a long-term agreement with Medicom of Pointe-Claire, Quebec, for the domestic production of 20 million N95 respirators and 24 million surgical masks a year, for the next 10 years.

We signed a new contract for 15 million face shields to be made by Sterling Industries, based in Concord Ontario, and we have a contract with Hewlett-Packard in Mississauga to make over a half a million more.

We have also signed a new contract with Logistik Unicorp, a manufacturer out of St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec. They are supplying us with more than 11 million medical gowns.

When it comes to tests for COVID-19, we reached a new agreement with LuminUltra Technologies, a company from New Brunswick, to produce enough reagent for 500,000 tests per week right through to March 2021.

These are only a few recent examples. We have seen a tremendous amount of Canadian innovation on all fronts.


Mr. Chair, this is a massive effort for Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) and we have significantly shifted our resources to meet the challenge head on.

Buying in this environment comes with many risks, and we are mitigating those risks as best we can, learning lessons along the way and making changes to our approach in real time.

We are committed to working with the Public Health Agency of Canada and all of our partners to secure the supplies needed to keep Canadians safe.

Thank you for your time, and I am happy to take your questions.

Media scan

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News releases

Department of Finance Canada news release: Government provides tariff relief to importers of certain medical goods—May 6, 2020

"We know that the demand for personal protective equipment will continue to be important through the next phases of this crisis. By working with procurement ministers across the country and members of our COVID-19 Supply Council, we are actively supporting front-line health care workers and all Canadians as the pandemic evolves, including by reducing barriers to access personal protective equipment."

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Public Services and Procurement Canada news release: Government of Canada creates COVID-19 Supply Council in support of Canada's response and recovery—May 3, 2020

"Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have engaged with provinces, territories, and the private and non-governmental sectors to respond to this crisis. This council builds on that collaborative approach, bringing together a diverse group of leaders to help us address current and future supply challenges. I look forward to the work we'll do together to ensure Canadians have access to the supplies they need to stay safe and healthy."

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Prime Minister news release details work with companies like Fluid energy, Stanfield, Arc'teryx, Canada Goose, Medicom and more—April 7, 2020

"Canadian companies are answering the call to protect our health care professionals with made-in-Canada solutions. This is exactly the kind of innovative, collaborative thinking we need to respond to this rapidly evolving pandemic. By increasing our support for secure, Canadian sources of needed materials and equipment, we will be able to help our health care workers protect themselves, treat patients, and slow the spread of this virus."

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

"Our first priority is getting equipment and supplies into the hands of our frontline healthcare workers. This crucial task is made more challenging by the highly competitive global environment in which we are operating. Canadian industry is stepping up in a big way to support these efforts and Canadians can be assured that we are working around the clock to ensure Canada has what it needs—made at home and abroad—as we fight COVID-19."

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Public Services and Procurement Canada ministerial news release to announce contract with Amazon—April 3, 2020

"The government is taking an aggressive, proactive procurement approach to ensure our front-line healthcare workers have the equipment they need. To date, we have already made a number of bulk purchases to secure key items like masks and ventilators, which are in high global demand. This partnership with Amazon, with support from Canada Post and Purolator, will help to ensure that these life-saving products make it into the hands of healthcare workers across the country as quickly as possible."

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Prime Minister news release detailing contract with Thornhill Medical, Medicom, and Spartan—March 31, 2020

"Canadian companies are answering the call to provide critical support to our health care workers, who are on the front lines of our country's fight against COVID-19. As the situation continues to evolve, the Government of Canada will be there to work with Canadian industry to find solutions that will support our medical professionals and protect the health and safety of all Canadians."

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

"We are taking an aggressive, proactive procurement approach to secure life-saving equipment and supplies. Industry has answered the call and we have successfully tapped into both existing and new supply sources. As a result, we have placed orders for millions of essential supplies in the fight against COVID-19."

Anita Anand, Minister of Public Services and Procurement

Quotes from news conferences


Please note that when there are no quotes for a specific date this means that there were no procurement-related discussions.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 14, 2020. Brief comment related to Personal Protective Equipment

Question: […] My follow-up is concerning the rapid tests that were supposed to be coming out a couple of weeks ago. I know Indigenous communities have tests, but they're not the rapid test, what happened to that?

Right Honourable (Rt. Hon.) Justin Trudeau: As was highlighted a number… last week, I believe, there have been challenges around the rapid tests that I believe an Ottawa company had put forward. They've gone back to try and improve them or repair them. We've seen many, many new technologies come forward in terms of helping, and we've moved very quickly on them, but it also requires us to adjust when things aren't working exactly the way they were hoped to be working, so I know people are working very, very hard to make sure that Indigenous communities, and indeed our remote northern communities, get the testing capacity they need as quickly as possible, but we need to make sure they are reliable tests.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 11, 2020. Brief comment related to Personal Protective Equipment

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I think as we move forward, the role of the federal government will be to support provinces in their reopening plans. We will be there to help them make sure that there are enough testing for their levels, that there is more PPE arriving, that we're putting in place measures to follow the guidelines agreed to by all provinces and the federal government on necessary prerequisites to opening.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 9, 2020. Discussion related to suspended shipment of N95 masks

Question: […] The government has suspended the shipment of 9 million N95 masks made in China that failed to meet specifications. How big of a loss is that for Canada? And given that this was a Montréal company that had outsourced to China, does this not prove that we should not be relying on foreign outsourcing for such critical equipment?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have been working very, very hard since the very beginning to bring in as much PPE as we possibly can, we've talked about almost… about 23 different flights just from China of millions of items of PPE, because we know the need is, and has been so pressing. At the same time we have ensured that we are ramping up domestic capacity to be able to ensure that we're covering the needs that we have for the longer term, and I want to thank all the companies and manufacturers who've stepped up. At the same time, we also know that in the millions of items that we've received, we have to ensure that they are at the top quality expected by our Canadian healthcare workers, and the withholding or the suspending of shipments from this particular supplier is proof that our system works. We are testing all those masks, all those items, before they reach our healthcare workers, because we will not compromise on the safety and protection for our healthcare workers.

Question: […] Prime Minister, a few weeks ago one of your deputy ministers said that Canada was spending between $1.50… or sorry, excuse me, $1.20 and $6 per N95 mask. How much did we pay for these ones?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Right now, we're in discussions with the supplier because we will not be burdened with masks that do not fit our stringent requirements. There are discussions ongoing with them about whether there are alternative uses for these masks, but we will not be paying for masks that do not hit the standards that we expect to give to our frontline workers.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 8, 2020. Discussion related to Taiwanese donation of surgical masks

Question: […] Taiwan has donated 500,000 surgical masks needed by Canadian healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. Your Foreign Minister wouldn't thank the country by name, will you?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: I'm happy to thank Taiwan for its generous donation. It is important at this point that Canadians and all people around the world pull together to be there for each other, because this is a global challenge that is going to face a global response. We need to do this together and we will.

Question: […] The former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Turnbull, says China is a bully, and that the way for Canada to deal with China is to stand up for it instead of backing down. Is your government standing up to China, or is it backing away from China?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] We're going to ensure that Canadians have the equipment, the supplies, the support they need to make it through this pandemic. And of course, at the same time, we will be asking difficult questions about how we're making it through this pandemic, how this came to happen, how we can learn from this. There will be plenty of time for questions in the months to come, my focus, rightly, is on doing everything I can to help Canadians through this.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—CBC Radio 1 (London) —CBCL FM—May 7, 2020. Minister Anand discusses the COVID-19 Supply Council.

Rebecca Zandbergen (Host): Tell me a little bit about this national supply council. What is it intended to do?

Minister Anita Anand: The supply council is another tool in our federal toolbox to ensure that our response to the crisis is comprehensive and continuing to be effective. What we're doing is bringing together a group of leaders from private and non-profit sectors to ensure that Canada is well equipped with the PPE and medical supplies that we need today and moving forward. So it's on top of our efforts to ensure that we are doing what Canada needs.

Rebecca Zandbergen (host): Okay. What is the current state of supply in Canada? We know we had issues early on. Where are we at now?

Minister Anita Anand: The question is a good one and it's a difficult one because you have to remember that we are purchasing multiple different types of PPE: face shields, ventilators, surgical masks, respirators, gloves, hand sanitizer, gowns in bulk that we are continuing to bring in goods from international ports as well as producing domestic goods in bulk. And in a market characterized by a surge in demand, we are buying existing inventory wherever possible from a diverse range of sources in the short and the long-term to make sure that front-line healthcare workers have what they need to keep Canadians safe.

Rebecca Zandbergen (host): We have heard that there is this global shortage though and that's been part of the problem and now Health Canada is sort of easing up on its own standards to allow it to import more things like masks and gowns. Is that happening right now still?

Minister Anita Anand: Well let's be clear, Health Canada has particular standards and it is working quickly to make sure that numerous goods are able to enter the Canadian marketplace after passing through their testing. So for example last week's 14 new tests were approved in Canada and this movement by Health Canada to ensure that we have product being approved is for sure very, very helpful to ensure that we can bring PPE into Canada. But we can't forget our domestic suppliers. Domestic manufacturers across the country have really stepped up. We've got Medicom in Quebec producing masks. Logistik Unicorp in Quebec also will be producing gowns. And in the London area we have InkSmith from Kitchener producing 10 million face shields and further in Southwestern Ontario, Windsor Mold, producing face shields also. So it's a team Canada approach right across the country.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 7, 2020. Question related to rejected N-95 masks.

Question: […] Earlier this week the Chinese embassy tweeted that the N95 masks which were rejected by Canada last month were the result of a contractual issue that has now been resolved. Your deputy prime minister and Health minister said that they would look into it but have yet to respond to explain what happened. Was there a contract problem that led to 1 million masks from China being rejected, what was the issue, and has it been resolved?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have over the past weeks received millions upon millions of items of PPE from around the world, including from China. Over the course of this time, there have been a small number that have been not to the levels that Canadians expected. We are continuing to follow up and work on it to make sure that the equipment that we deliver to our frontline workers, to our healthcare workers across this country is at Canadian standards. We will be receiving flights of PPE from China and other places almost daily over the coming weeks. We know that we are needing to ensure enough high-quality equipment for Canadians right across the country, and we're continuing to do just that.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—The Rob Snow Show 1310 News—May 4, 2020. Announcement of COVID-19 Supply Council

Minister Anita Anand: […] The supply council's another tool in our toolbox to make sure that our response to the COVID-19 crisis is effective and widespread. We are, with the supply council, bringing together a group of leaders from the private and non-profit sectors to ensure that Canada is well equipped with PPE and medical supplies that we need today and moving forward. So, the council will provide advice on establishing further diversified and adaptable supply chains for key items like masks, gloves, and disinfectants from point A to point Z as the circumstances around COVID-19 continue to evolve.

[…] We are buying in bulk, we are being aggressive because we need to compete in this market, and so the approach has been effective to date and as I said, the supply council's another tool in our toolbox to ensure that our response is effective, broadly speaking.

[…] Without question. We are taking an aggressive procurement approach to secure lifesaving equipment and supplies that Canada needs from a diverse range of suppliers around the world and right here at home, so Canadian businesses of all sizes right across the country have truly stepped up to meet our needs in the fight against COVID-19. For example, we have agreements with companies to produce gowns and masks and test kits and face shields. These are all coming from Canadian companies.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—May 3, 2020. Brief discussions related to the announcement of the COVID-19 Supply Council

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] But until we have effective treatments, or better yet, a vaccine, we still need a reliable supply of everything from masks to ventilators. So later today, Minister Anand will announce the details of a new COVID-19 Supply Council. This council will be tasked with finding innovative solutions to ensure our country continues to have the vital supplies necessary to keep Canadians safe.

Question: […] Prime Minister, can you tell us more about the supply council, what specifically will it be focusing on, and how long is its mandate?

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: From the very beginning, we've made it an absolute priority to procure the necessary personal protective equipment for our frontline workers in this country. We have managed to work with the provinces on sourcing necessary products from around the world so that we've been able to meet the demand across the country. At the same time, we recognize that it was important to develop our own domestic capacity for PPE, and that is coming online now. At the same time, we recognize that as the economy starts to open in different places in different ways, it is going to be important to have even more personal protective equipment for people working in the private sector in various industries, and that's why we need to do everything we can to ensure we're getting the right procurement. That's why we're moving forward with this supply council and Minister Anand will be at the noon press conference to answer more questions on the council.

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—May 3, 2020. Discussions related to Personal Protective Equipment, supplies and introduction of the COVID-19 Supply Council

Minister Anita Anand: […] As with the rest of the world, most of our supplies continue coming from abroad. We are still facing logistical challenges because of the heightened global demand but significant progress being made. [End of interpretation] Air Canada has helped us bring home 20 plane loads of supplies with flights coming in nearly every day this past week. We have also engaged UPS to provide additional assistance with moving PPE out of Shanghai ensuring that supplies are coming into the warehouse and making their way onto the plane back to Canada. [Speaking French] Our objective is to put safe, reliable and effective equipment in the hands of our health professionals. And we are taking all necessary measures for this to happen. We are remaining extremely vigilant when it comes to the quality of the products we are distributing. [End of interpretation] We make needed adjustments so that we are only dealing with companies that can meet the standards that we require. [Speaking French] Nationally, Canadian companies are continuing to increase production and deliveries are underway. [End of interpretation] Based in Toronto, delivered the first shipment of ventilators to the federal government. Our first shipment of face shields began to come in this week more than 740,000 received to date. Half of which were produced here in Canada by companies like Bauer. We have also signed new contracts for 15.5 million face shields from Sterling Industries, affiliated with Honda and Hewlett-Packard (HP) Canada. We managed to secure a shipment from China of vital chemical components required to produce the agent. This week, we have finalized a new agreement with a leading Biotech company in New Brunswick as the corporation now has the components that it needs to produce enough reagent for 500,000 more tests per week right through to March of next year, domestic production right here at home. [Speaking French] We are signing a long-term agreement with Medicom for the manufacturing of 20 million N95 respirators and 18 million surgical masks per year for the next 10 years. This is part of our plan to ensure that Canada is prepared now and in the future in collaboration with minister Bains. Furthermore, we have signed a new contract with logistic unit within core, a manufacturing company in St. Jean sur Richelieu in Quebec. They are providing 11 million medical gowns. Logistic Unicore is one of the 30,000 corporations which responded to the call for action that was published on the buy and sell sites where we are asking suppliers to help us fight COVID-19. [End of interpretation] How companies have stepped up to meet the current challenges that we are facing to. Their ingenuity and tenacity will help us through this crisis. Last week relaunched a running report of our procurement on our website. Which was updated on Friday. [Speaking French] The figures are showing we made progress in ordering and obtaining supplies from the country and abroad. We will not slow down our efforts. [End of interpretation] In addition, we continue. We are not letting up. A sudden resurgence would renew a further order of critical supplies. That is why I have formed a COVID-19 Supply Council, which brings together a diverse group of leaders, from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to the Red Cross, to provide advice on buildings innovative and agile supply chains from start to finish. This council is about bringing together diverse industry and experiences in order to best serve Canadians. The council complements my work with procurement ministers from provinces and territories right across the country. When we spoke on Friday, my counterpart in Nunavut raised and urgent shortage of swabs. With the department of national defense we were able to ensure a shipment of swab was sent on its way to Nunavut within 24 hours. Cooperation has proof on to be in valuable, time and time again, throughout this crisis. […]

Question: […] Exactly what gap is currently in the supply of PPE that you're hoping this council will fill? What specifically is missing from the additional supplies that the council will be seeking?

Minister Anita Anand: […] The supply council isn't meant to fill a particular gap in the supply chain per se. The goal in establishing the supply council is to surprise another lens into the point to point procurements that we are doing from start to finish, from manufacturer to arrival to production in Canada, what is it that we can be doing differently to ensure that we have proper and effective and efficient procurements with—within our government and across the country. And so the idea is that it is adding to our existing processes by drawing on the expertise of multiple individuals from a diverse set of sectors, so that we can ensure that we are thinking about all the necessary things that we need to be thinking about in procurement. So for example, in terms of distribution, we have much to learn in terms of diverse communities. Should we be adopting alternative and additional processes to ensure that we can reach vulnerable populations and part of our conversation with the supply council will resolve around Canada's incredible diversity and how we can do better in terms of our procurement to ensure that everyone has supplies that are necessary across this country?

Question: What is the government's forecast of how much PPE we will need either for a number of population or per week or mix of those, when we reopen? How much more PPE will we need once we are all trying to get back to work?

Minister Anita Anand: It is definitely true that across the country, wherever you are, people are talking about personal protective equipment and the incredible needs that we are foreseeing. Let me be clear, our first priority as the federal government at the current time is to procurement PPE for the frontline healthcare workers. And that is what we are doing every single day and procuring from international sources and domestic retooling is also part of that equation. Diversifying supply chains. In terms of what is needed for PPE, this is an ongoing conversation that I have been having with my provincial and territorial counter parts and we are going to be continuing to have as we go through the next—go through the next phases of the pandemic, but I will say that from a procurement perspective, we are planning for the short and long term. […]

Question: Yeah, so Minister Anand, as we speak, some provinces move faster to recovery. Or I guess in later stages where they are starting to reopen, I guess before some others, will PPE distribution be affected by that, so after province, further along, in to a recovery phase, does that factor in to how PPE Is distributed? I know it currently is per capita. Can you elaborate?

Minister Anita Anand: Based on requests that have come from the provinces and territories or purchases they require for frontline healthcare workers and so I said that is the priority at the current time. […]

But I will say that there is much, with to be done on essential services and PPE for special services and it is important to remember that the federal government is not the only purchasers of PPE in the country. Hospitals are procuring PPE, individual businesses are procuring PPE and health care centres themselves are procuring PPE so this is an ongoing conversation but it is important to remember that there are a number of purchases, purchasers in the country and the most important point is that the global environment is incredibly strained. The demand is high. […]

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—CBC News Network with Michael Serapio (weekend) —May 3, 2020. Discussion related to Health Canada's decision regarding the Spartan Cube and Personal Protective Equipment updates

Minister Anita Anand: […] I want to be clear that Health Canada last week did approve 14 new different types of tests and so the delay that you're referring to is one that isn't actually a recall or a delay, it is part of the process of building new technology. Now, the point that you raise about vulnerable communities needing to be tested and needing to have access to tests is an important one and in that vein, I would like to highlight that we did sign a contract with LuminUltra this week for the production and dissemination of 500,000 tests per week into March 2021 so we are diversifying our supply chains, we're diversifying the ability to test and the ways and means that we're going to be using 2 effect tests. The Spartan test is just one piece of that diversification story and we are making sure that millions of Canadians are going to be tested including in vulnerable communities as you suggest. […]

Transcript: Question Period in the House of Commons with Minister Anand—Reported by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation News Now with Suhana Meharchand (weekday) —April 29, 2020. Discussion related to counterfeit Personal Protective Equipment

Minister Anita Anand: Mr. Speaker our priority is always to make sure that we have safe, effective equipment and supplies in the hands of our frontline healthcare workers. Given the complexity of the global supply chain, ensuring quality of the product is extremely important. We are working with established suppliers and distributors as well as quality assurance experts and we have strong processes in place to help ensure that the supplies we receive meet all the necessary standards. In addition, the Public Health Agency of Canada has robust testing measures in place. We must make sure that equipment is safe.

Member of Parliament (MP) Kelly Block: Thank you, Mr. Chair. I would like to ask the Minister how many shipments, um, or if she can tell us who is ordering these supplies.

Minister Anita Anand: […] The process that we are following at Public Services and Procurement is that we are ordering based on orders that have come from the provinces based on what Public Health tells us they've requested.

MP Kelly Brock: Thank you very much. Can the minister at least tell us what measures are in place to ensure Canada is only buying PPE from reputable sources?

Minister Anita Anand: There are a number of points at which quality assurance is occurring, Mr. Speaker, we are ensuring that manufacturers are required to certify that they're meeting specific standards, new controls by the Chinese government for international procurements require additional oversight and the PSPC is working closely with Public Health to ensure that there is quality assurance taking place right here in Canada, in Canadian warehouses.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 28, 2020. Prime Minister discusses impact of Personal Protective Equipment on reopening of economy

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Our priority over the past weeks has been to ensure enough personal protective equipment for our frontline workers who are doing extraordinary work to keep us all safe. But we also know that as different provinces look at starting to reopen certain sectors, certain industries, certain parts of the economy, there is going to be an increased need for personal protective equipment. That's why we continue to procure massive amounts of PPE from overseas, while at the same time watching the Canadian production come online so that we can have our domestic capacity to rely on as well. We know that having the right amounts of PPE for industries that want to reopen will be essential before they reopen, and that's why we're accelerating the rate at which we are taking in personal protective equipment.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—Breakfast Television (City TV) —April 28, 2020. Discussion related to Personal Protective Equipment

Melanie Ng (reporter): […] No doubt, need to go hand in hand. Minister, I want to talk to you about PPE because that is a major topic of conversation. Just out this morning, the Canadian Medical Association is calling for more transparency when it comes to the availability of PPE. Can you provide an update on where we stand when it comes to shipments, getting in protective equipment that we can use, 'cause we have seen some mishaps coming in from various areas, where it stands especially if we go through phase 2 or phase 3, another wave?

Minister Anita Anand: An excellent question. I will say that we are operating in a highly competitive global environment with countries competing for the same goods, the same PPE, largely from China, and so we have been buying in bulk and bringing goods back to Canada. We have had over 10 shipments back from China and in order to increase transparency which I think where your question was going, we have placed a web page up on our website, the PSPC website, to allow Canadians to see what we are purchasing and what has been delivered back to Canada, so once again, this is an ongoing process of bringing goods, bringing PPE back to Canada, and we have a steady stream of goods coming in. We're watching the supply chain very closely because of the strained international circumstances. At the same time, we are re-tooling domestic industry, so we had the first ventilators delivered to the federal government yesterday, produced by Thornhill Medical, we are seeing ramping up in PPE by companies across the country producing things like rapid test kits, gowns, face masks, face shields. These are all things that Canadian companies are producing from coast to coast to coast.

Melanie Ng (reporter): I guess the big question, Minister, are you confident that there will be enough?

Minister Anita Anand: The important thing to remember is that the federal government is one of many different purchasers in the country. The provincial governments and health care centres are themselves purchasing personal protective equipment and so we are contributing to the supply of PPE in the country. We are buying millions of items in bulk every single day and working collaboratively with the provinces and territories to ensure that our front-line health care workers have what they need not only today but going into the long term so that as we roll out into a more normal way of working, we can ensure that our health care officials have what they need as they're keeping Canadians safe.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 27, 2020. Prime Minister briefly discusses shipments and domestic production

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Every single day, every week we are ramping up our supplies of personal protective equipment. We have been ensuring that, as much as possible, our healthcare workers, our frontline essential workers get the equipment they need to keep themselves safe. But as we look at reopening the economy in different parts of the country, we know there is going to be an increased demand for personal protective equipment. That's one of the principles and guidelines we have to keep in mind as we look at reopening: will there be enough PPE for various sectors to open up? And that's a piece of it. We are expecting to receive a shipment of PPE every day on flights from China this week; we are ramping up our domestic production capacities for personal protective equipment because we know that is going to be an important source for Canadian businesses and Canadian industry in the coming months. These are all things we're doing to make sure we can take the decisions that will gradually reopen the economy while keeping Canadians safe.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—News conference—April 25, 2020. Prime Minister discusses impact of Personal Protective Equipment on reopening of economy

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] So today, we're announcing $62.5 million to support fish and seafood processors through this crisis. As we fight COVID-19, people who work in fish and seafood processing plants across the country are playing a crucial role when it comes to getting food to our tables. This funding will help ensure that they can safely continue their important work. We're giving more money to processors so that they can purchase personal protective equipment for workers, adapt to health protocols, and support other social distancing measures. For example, fish processing plants could buy new equipment like freezers or storage space so that their product, food for Canadians, can stay good while they respond to a changing market. With this announcement we're giving fish and seafood processors more resources to adapt to the many challenges brought on by the pandemic, and above all, keep workers safe. […]

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] First, one of the criteria for starting to reopen certain industries will certainly be to ensure that there is enough personal protective equipment to do the job safely, and so we know that the demand will continue to grow across the country. We will do this gradually, in part because we need to have enough equipment in all provinces to protect workers, not just health care workers. This is why, in terms of Canadian production and importing from abroad, we are increasing our capacity significantly, but as long as we do not have enough equipment, we will not be able to reopen certain industries. […]

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Adequate PPE supplies will be a part of that, but I can assure you that we are very much on that; whether it's the plane loads of PPE supplies that will be coming in almost every single day next week, or the domestic production capacity which is ramping up rapidly and will be ready to support Canadians as we move forward on steps towards reopening. These are the things that we need to make sure we're getting right so as to ensure that all the sacrifices we've made over the past weeks won't be for nothing.

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—April 24, 2020. Minister Anand provides update on procurement and new contracts with Canadian companies

Minister Anita Anand: […] I will be addressing international procurements, domestic production, and I will provide an update on our procurements. Given the intense global demand for equipment and supplies, we are facing many challenges. Much of the world's supply is manufactured in China. And moving materials out of that country is highly complex. We have experienced challenges as the prime minister discussed earlier this week. I want to reassure Canadians that we can continue to adjust and refine our logistical and diplomatic approaches on the ground not just in response to supply chain challenges, but in anticipation of these challenges. The aggressive approach that we are taking to expeditiously bring home supplies means that we are building in contingencies. Over buying in some cases and implementing rigorous progress product testing. Progress is being made. We have received 6 plane loads carrying supplies from China since last Friday alone. And over 10 carriers have brought goods back to Canada over all from China. They have helped to carry millions more N95 respirators and surgical masks into Canada that are now in the public health agency for testing. I want to thank Air Canada and cargo jet for continuing to step up and deliver. Last weekend, we also received an international shipment of an important based chemical needed for reducing reagent as my colleague Minister Bains mentioned at Luman ultra in New Brunswick that will allow for more COVID-19 testing. The company is now gearing up to deliver reagent for up to 500,000 tests on a weekly basis. [Speaking French] Imported products undergo rigorous testing both at the source and in Canada. Where they are inspected by the public health agency of Canada. Quality issues while unwelcome are not unexpected given the surge in global demand for these goods. [End of translation] Only coming from abroad domestic production is ramping up and Canadian companies are delivering. I am pleased to announce with my colleague Minister Bains that this week we have signed contracts with 3 more Canadian companies including Jacobs and Thompson out of Toronto, Windsor mold group out of Windsor, Ontario, to produce a total of 16 million medical face shields. The third company Canadian Shield out of Kitchener has moved from 3D laser—3D printing to laser cutting technology to produce masks that can be easily sanitized for reuse. These are great examples of Canadian ingenuity and innovation. [Speaking French] I am inspired by the way that these and other companies have risen to the challenge. And I am proud to say that we continue to add to our Canadian line up. [End of translation] Some parts of the country models suggest that there may be future outbreaks. Even after we get through this first peak. In terms of our procurements, this possibility means that we are still preparing for all eventualities. In light of this reality, I am pleased to announce that Striker, a company headquartered in Waterdown and with production based in Quebec City will provide us with 82 sterilization units that have been approve by health Canada. These machines allow for the sterilization and reuse of equipment like N95 respirators, extending life cycle of this important piece of equipment in health care facilities across the country. I am pleased to announce that Striker, a company headquartered in Waterdown and with production based in Quebec City, will provide us with 82 sterilization units that have been approved by Health Canada. These machines allow for the sterilization and reuse of N95 respirators. Extending the life cycle of this important piece of equipment in health care facilities across the country. We have also signed contracts to meet the potential needs for up to 10 mobile health hubs. These units which are built specifically for providing respiratory care so that local health authorities can address over flows of patients if necessary. [End of translation] We are taking every precaution to keep Canadians safe. The COVID-19 situation is very worrying and stressful. Canadians want to know what we are doing to protect them. We are taking new steps to be as transparent as possible and to keep Canadians up to date on our work. Today, we are launching an on line report detailing the progress that we are making on procuring key COVID-19 supplies. This running inventory will be updated weekly and gives information on key supplies that have been ordered and received. Of course, these numbers only tell part of the story. As our provinces, territories and health care centres are also procuring supplies on their own. We are dealing with massive quantities of goods. Behind those numbers is an army of hardworking Canadians working here and overseas doing all they can to deliver these goods. [Speaking French] I want to personally thank them for the extraordinary efforts. [End of translation] It is full steam ahead as we work to secure the supplies that healthcare workers need to keep themselves and Canadians safe today, tomorrow, and in the months to come. Thank you so much.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 21, 2020. Prime Minister discusses the 2 charter planes that landed in Canada empty

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We have… I got more information on the issues around the 2 planes that landed empty yesterday. One was a Government of Canada charter, the other was chartered by a specific province for one of their orders. There are severe restrictions on the ground in China in terms of how long a plane can actually stay in their airports before having to leave, whether it's full or not, and at the same time, supply lines and truck shipments to the airports are difficult and interrupted by checkpoints and quarantine measures. For the most part we've been able to navigate through those and ensure that Canada has received the equipment that it needs, but these 2 airplanes were forced to take off empty.

We will continue to work through a very difficult situation to ensure that, as we have been, we make sure that Canadians, Canadian provinces, Canadian institutions, get the equipment that they so desperately need. We're continuing to receive millions of pieces of PPE over the past days. We expect many more over the past… over the next days and weeks, as well as the Canadian industrial facilities tooling up their ability to deliver PPE's. It's always a challenge to get the PPE into Canada at a time where the global market is very, very competitive for these, but we have managed so far to get the equipment the provinces have asked for, and we will continue to make sure we're prioritizing support for our front-line workers who are going into battle every day against this virus. […]

Different provinces are managing their stockpiles differently. The federal government is there to support provinces in their requests and until this point have been… up until this point and beyond this point have been able to respond to the specific requests that provinces have made. At the same time, we have been fighting in a very competitive international environment where everyone is looking for PPE, which is why we've made significant investments in domestic capacity to make the kinds of equipment that is going to keep frontline health workers safe across the country.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 18, 2020. Prime Minister updates on shipments on medical supplies such as N95 masks and coveralls

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] It will get easier, but until it does, we need to be prepared to persevere, and that includes ensuring that our frontline workers have the equipment and tools they need to do their jobs and stay safe. Yesterday 2 planes full of N95 masks and coveralls arrived in Canada. More shipments will be coming in this weekend and into next week with additional medical supplies. I can also announce that we will begin receiving deliveries of face shields from Toronto Stamp very soon. They've shifted from their usual production of rubber stamps and ID badges and will be providing millions of face shields over the next 2 months. Le Canada continue de recevoir des envois d'équipement de protection individuel. Canada continues to receive shipments of personal protective equipment.

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] We are confident that we are in a good place around PPE, and we'll only get better as more and more Canadian producers and suppliers come online. It has been something extraordinary to see; the level to which Canadian manufacturers have been stepping up to get involved, and we are in a much better place than we were a number of weeks ago. Of course, there is a need for continued vigilance and there will of course be many lessons learned on how Canada can be better prepared for any future outbreaks than we were this time.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—The Bill Kelly Show CHML AM—April 17, 2020. Minister discusses procurement approach, updates on Personal Protective Equipment and lists Canadian companies who have re-tooled in order to provide supplies

Minister Anita Anand […] We are aggressively procuring in the global marketplace, recognizing the risks posed by fragile supply chains as you mentioned, the fluidity of the current situation, and extremely high global demand. What we've done is set up an A to Z procurement approach to bring in supplies from international organizations and countries such as China but also to make sure that domestic companies have re-tooled and in that regard, we are seeing regular shipments arriving with significant quantities of personal protective equipment including, to date, we have received over 17.5 million surgical masks, around 2 million N95 masks which are continually ordered as a priority, and those have been delivered to Canada and they're getting out to the provinces. To date, we've received more than 14 million pairs of medical gloves and we're also helping to bring provinces back orders that they have made directly, whether it's from Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, all of those provinces have put cargo on our flights so far, so that's on the international front and I mentioned domestic re-tooling. We've got a number of Canadian companies that are stepping up in our effort to battle COVID-19 whether it's Stanfield's on gowns, Irving Oil on hand sanitizer, Thornhill Medical on ventilators, Spartan on test kits, Medicom on masks, and even a Hamilton company also has come forward, Mariner Endosurgery, which was identified through our buy and sell website.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 16, 2020. Prime Minister mentions that Canada is working alongside other countries for tests, vaccines, treatment, medical supplies

Rt. Hon J. Trudeau: […] Just this morning I had a call with the other G7 leaders to discuss the pandemic. We all remain committed to doing whatever it takes to help people and our economies rebound after this crisis. We're working together to support international efforts to develop a vaccine, expand treatment, expand testing, and ensure the critical medical supplies get to the front lines.

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—News conference—April 16, 2020. Minister provides update on procurement process, Personal Protective Equipment procured to date, and names Canadian suppliers

Minister Anita Anand: […] I can tell you that this is truly a team Canada approach to procurement with all hands on deck and all of the government working together. Furthermore, I will be speaking with my counterparts tomorrow. In a market characterized by high demand, we are buying existing inventory where we can and placing large orders to create and to maintain a steady stream of goods flowing from diverse sources over the coming months. (Speaking French). Our officials are working closely with partners on the ground which includes embassy and logistic experts to get these supplies into Canada. In particular, we are working with Logistics Canada based out of Montréal and with Deloit Canada for receiving, storing services and custom's clearances. Cargo jet and Air Canada have stepped up, as well, to bring home to Canada federal orders, as well as provincial and territorial borders. And we continue to work with other officials in China including our formidable ambassador Dominick Vartan to navigate the complex campaign chain environment. […]

In addition to our international buying efforts, Canadian companies have responded en masse to our suppliers and buy and sell. Through this call to action, we have signed contracts with suppliers like Geometric Energy Corporation based in Calgary and this company will provide millions of nitral gloves for Canada's healthcare workers. (Speaking French). Over the past few weeks, we have also heard about the many Canadian companies that are ramping up production with some manufacturers completely shifting their production lines. Thinking of Canadian companies like Bauer in Quebec that have gone from making hockey gear to making face shields for front-line medical workers or Stanfields that is set to provide us with 100,000 medical gowns. (Speaking French). I am very happy to announce that we can add another name to that growing list. The government of Canada has signed a contract with Irving Oil which has retooled parts of its production line for much-needed sanitizer. Production will start being delivered over the next few weeks. This is a part of more than 20 million liters of hand sanitizer that we've ordered. […]

We have chartered 6 flights and we expect f4our more in the next week carrying a variety of goods from China, including N95 masks. These flights are, of course, in addition to goods that arrive by other means. As of today, we have ordered just under 300 million surgical masks and approximately 145 million and 95 respirators. Today we, have received deliveries of more than 17 million surgical masks and roughly 800,000 N95 masks were delivered to the provinces and territories last week and we expect 1.1 million to reach them this week. (Speaking French). We've ordered 100,000 pairs of glasses and more than 14 million have arrived in Canada. Up to 30,000 ventilators with CAE and Starfish, and all 3 are Canadian companies that will be manufacturing these life-saving machines right here at home. […]

Minister Anita Anand: I will say that we have received over just in the past 2 weeks alone around 2 million N95 masks that are expected to be delivered to the provinces in total by the end of the week. So that's the first point to directly answer your question on numbers. […]

And so, monitoring that supply chain from start to finish on the ground in China, for example, is a key priority of our ministry and our government and we will not stop until we have the supplies Canadians need. […]

Minister Anita Anand: The issue of quality control of goods coming from outside of Canada and in this case China is one that we are watching very closely. On the ground in China, we make sure to have quality control checks there and then, on the ground in Canada, the public health agency of Canada also runs inspections. And where the goods are un-useable, we then move to a secondary or terciary supply chain and so, it is a constant place of attention for our government to make sure that the goods that are getting out to all parts of Canada are in good condition and it's something we take from point A to point Z. Having said that, it appears that there was a mishap and it is something that we are taking very, very close watch over to make sure it doesn't happen in the future in terms of the inspections in Canada, it would be appropriate for Dr. Tam to add any words here.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—CITV FM—April 16, 2020. Minister provides update on Personal Protective Equipment procured to date and lists Canadian suppliers

Minister Anita Anand: […] Having said that, we have made significant procurements of personal protective equipment. For example, we have shipments arriving of over 16 million surgical masks just last week, we have over 2 million N95 respirator masks that are being inspected and going out to the provinces, 20,000 litres of hand sanitizer with approximately 10,000 more litres expected, and we are also helping the provinces bring back orders that they have made directly, and I will say that these procurements are occurring from a number of countries but we do have regular flights coming in from China and we also have Canadian suppliers like Canada Goose in Toronto, Stanfield's, Medicom, Spartan Medical, Thornhill Medical. These are all Canadian companies that are re-tooling and ramping up so that we have a domestic supply chain running as well as an international supply chain. It's really an all hands on deck moment for our country and it's wonderful to see Canadian businesses step up. […]

Minister Anita Anand: We have a close attention being paid to quality control. To begin, on the ground, before shipment comes to Canada, we make sure that we have quality control being looked over. In addition, when goods come into Canada to a warehouse here, the Public Health Agency of Canada does its own inspection to make sure that the goods meet a certain quality and if they don't, then we work very hard to procure substitute goods, so it is a continual process but we do not let up. We make sure that we've got quality control processes operating. […]

Minister Anita Anand: Another company that comes to mind is Fluid Energy in Alberta with millions of litres of hand sanitizer that they are bringing to market. All across this country, from the East Coast to the West Coast to the North, we are seeing Canadians come together and domestic re-tooling is just one important aspect of that team Canada approach. […]

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 15, 2020. Prime Minister highlights purchase of Personal Protective Equipment and medications

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] Public Health Canada and Procurement Canada are working together to ensure the steady supply of essential medications to Canada, both related to COVID-19 and not. We recognize that this is a global health crisis. So there are challenges but Canada has a very strong pharmaceutical industry. We have very strong relationships around the world on getting medication and necessary supplies. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that Canadians get what they need.

Transcript: Interview with Minister Anita Anand—CBC—April 14, 2020. Minister talks about procurement of tests

Minister Anita Anand: So Vassy, my role isn't to decide how many people we test, my role as the minister of Public Services and Procurement is to purchase, to procure the test based on the decision that Public Health and Health Canada are making regarding our testing approach. And I will say that in terms of procuring tests, we are procuring different types of tests, the traditional type which we are ensuring that we have tests to test millions of Canadians, as well as the rapid test kits that you were referring to in your question from Spartan Medical, which is the new rapid test kit that we've been talking about a lot today which will be on the testing facilities very soon.

Vassy Kapelos: On the procurement of the Spartan tests, are those figures accurate, that's what the chief executive officer (CEO) said yesterday but I'm wondering if there's any intent on behalf of the federal government to invest more, to see the company scale up more, what can you tell us about that?

Minister Anita Anand: Well one of the things that is so exciting, that we've been talking to Spartan Medical for weeks about having them produce these rapid test kits so that we can get them out into use much more quickly uh and so that's exactly what's happening over the next weeks and months, and we've heard a lot about those tests—those rapid tests, and it is very exciting for Canada to be able to move into that direction. But I will note that there are multiple different types of tests, and we are open to thinking about many different types of approaches to testing and venues for that matter, so we'll have to keep watching that. […]

Minister Anita Anand: And so as I mentioned we are procuring tests to be able to test millions of Canadians, both in terms of rapid tests as well as the traditional type of testing. So the question about testing is an ongoing one, it is continually evolving as new technologies come to market and we are as I said very excited to build up domestic capacity in this regard so that we have multiple supply channels operating at the same time—both domestic and international. […]

Vassy Kapelos: Have there been any—has there been any movements since a week when we last spoke though, has there been any loosening of those bureaucratic challenges on the Chinese side from your perspective?

Minister Anita Anand: No. Not from my perspective, in fact the challenge is there for us each and every day to work with our team on the ground, Ambassador Barton and his team, which has been incredible and from private companies as well, to make sure every step of the way that we are doing our procurements in a very careful and expeditious way to get them back to Canada. Remember we've had 3 or 4 flights already from China, we're expecting 4 or 5 more in the near future, and so this is an unending journey for us at the current time, which we are approaching with great skill I believe, and the appropriate amount of caution, uh not to be sure about our orders until we actually see them right here on the ground in Canada so we can get them out to the frontline workers where they belong.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 14, 2020. Prime Minister highlights procurement of Personal Protective Equipment

Rt. Hon. J. Trudeau: […] Over the weekend we received new shipments of essential personal protective equipment, including 4 planes' worth of N95 masks. As we speak, workers are unpacking and validating these supplies so we can start shipping them to the provinces and territories as quickly as possible. Il y avait aussi une commande pour le Québec. There was also an order for the province of Quebec.

These new N95 masks are in addition to the more than 820,000 that went to provinces last week. All told, this means that we have 1.1 million N95s ready to be shipped to the provinces and territories, with more to come. We have also received millions of pairs of gloves and we'll be getting new protective gowns delivered from domestic suppliers starting next Monday. […]

In the last few days, we've also made progress on testing. Right now we're moving forward on a range of rapid testing kits, both from here in Canada and internationally. This includes Ottawa-based Spartan Bioscience, who will soon be supplying tens of thousands of kits per month, and potentially more as production increases. Comme la Dre Tam l'a dit hier, plus de 430 000 tests ont été réalisés au Canada. On va continuer d'augmenter nos capacités et d'étudier de nouvelles technologies pour simplifier les tests partout au pays. As Dr. Tam said yesterday, over 430,000 tests have been done in Canada. We will continue to expand our capacity and explore new technologies to simplify testing across the country.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 10, 2020. Prime Minister highlights contract with Fluid Energy for hand sanitizer

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We've had thousands and thousands of Canadian companies step up and offer to be part of supply chains for essential services, for essential equipment and medications. We are working with all of them as quickly as possible. There have had to be choices as to who we could move quickest with, who was furthest along, but we will continue to work with all companies who put up their hands to be helpful, to figure out ways they can best help. […]

"We're helping companies join in the effort. Look no further than Fluid Energy from Alberta. They will produce over a million liters of hand sanitizer each month, with shipments starting as early as next week. We've invested in this large-scale production as part of our plan to have enough vital supplies produced right here at home." […]

The procurement challenge is not necessarily a challenge in terms of purchasing power or costs. Costs are rising. The reality is that the different provinces and even different hospitals themselves have connections with producers around the world, and they are using those contacts, those connections, to try to get the equipment they need, in addition to all the efforts that the country and the provinces are making.

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—April 8, 2020. Deputy Prime Minister discussed 3M masks coming in from United Sates, integrated supply chain, bilateral relationship with United Sates and how Government of Canada is able to help provinces

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: […] There may be other purchases by provinces and hospitals, but I do want to assure you and tell you right now thatand tell all provinces and hospitals that the federal government is here to help the provinces and help our hospitals in making these purchases outside the country. We are moving ahead. We have excellent ambassador in the US, in China, across the world and we're working in close collaboration with provinces and even certain hospitals to make these purchases. With respect to the United States, and the issue of purchasing medical supplies from the US, this is an issue we are currently discussing and resolving. All Canadians now know that we did have issues around the purchase of the 3M masks, but we are resolving many other specific issues as well. I would like to emphasize that we have had and are continuing to have a conversation on several other levels with respect to this issue with our American partners. We've explained that when it comes to medical services, like all of the relationships, various relationships we have with the United States is a reciprocal relationship. It is a relationship that is truly interdependent. We need the United States, but at the same time, they need us, too. And I must also emphasize how important the premiers and the provinces' role is. This is an issue we're all working together on as team Canada. […]

With respect to 3M's masks, the first batch of masks arrived in Canada last night at 11:20 pm. Those masks are now here in Canada. We are now organizing the distribution of those masks across the country… These masks are so important and necessary for them… when it comes to medical supplies, we have a very complex relationship in that area, just like every other industry. It's not just an issue of finished products, it's about all of the required elements to produce a mask. […]

There might be orders done by provinces or hospitals that I'm not aware of, but we've been encouraging provinces and hospitals to get in touch with the federal government if they're having any concerns, any issues in the United States or anywhere in the world. […]

We are delighted that the first part of Canada's order from 3M has been resolved and those 500,000 masks are here in Canada. […]

Thus far, we have been met with real comprehension from our American partners, both in the administration and also at the business level, because American businesses really understand the extent to which the supply chains are interdependent.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 7, 2020. Prime Minister explains global need for Personal Protective Equipment, our own procurement items and companies Government of Canada is contracting

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We're working with Thornhill Medical, CAE, Ventilators for Canadians, and a group led by StarFish Medical to produce up to 30,000 'Made in Canada' ventilators. These purchases will help increase our capacity to make sure these life-saving machines are made right here at home. We're also working with Nobel Prize winning researcher Dr. Art McDonald, who is leading a team of scientists to develop ventilators that are easy to make. […]

And to produce medical gowns and establish new supply chains right here in Canada, we're teaming up with over 20 companies, including Arc'teryx, Canada Goose and Stanfields. One thing that is particularly inspiring to see is just how many companies are not just producing these goods, but innovating. For example, AutoLiv is looking to make medical gowns out of material they'd normally use to produce airbags. […]

At the same time, our government is continuing to purchase masks to protect our health care professionals, who are doing an extraordinary job. We have ordered millions of surgical masks from a number of Canadian companies, and we are supporting Medicom, which will increase its capacity to produce N95 masks. We are also purchasing hand sanitizer, and Health Canada has authorized the sale of over 85 of these products to Canadians. While we're working to secure critical equipment from Canadian sources, we're also in touch with other suppliers around the world who want to sell to Canada. We're expecting 500,000 masks from 3M tomorrow and we're working as fast as we can to get them to our frontline workers. From the outset, our priority has been the health and safety of all Canadians. So, whether you're making medical gowns, delivering ventilators or treating a patient with COVID-19, we have your back. […]

Over the past few weeks almost 5,000 Canadian companies have stepped forward to help fight COVID-19. To keep our frontline workers safe and care for Canadians with COVID-19, we need a stable supply of these products, and that means making them at home. With our plan to mobilize industry, we're helping companies retool, repurpose and innovate to fight COVID-19. We've already signed letters of intent with a number of partners to produce the things we need, and today we have more good news to share. […]

I think we're seeing right now that the entire world was unprepared to have as much PPE as needed. Some places are facing far greater shortages than Canada. We have worked extremely hard to step up both on our procurement of PPEs, but mostly on increasing the Canadian production of personal protective equipment and materials like ventilators and testing kits. […]

So, we have told these companies across the country who have put up their hands to go ahead and get building ventilators as quickly as possible and as many as possible in case we need them in Canada. We certainly hope that we won't be needing all those ventilators, but we also know that there are countries around the world where they are not able to tool up local production to create more ventilators. They're going to be reliant on a global supply that's already stretched thin, and if we end up making more ventilators than Canada needs because Canadians continued to stay social distancing, continued to follow best health advice, that will be great news, and we will have ventilators to share with other countries that are facing more difficult circumstances. For us, doing more right now and doing 'quicker' right now is really the only option. […]

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—April 7, 2020. Public Services and Procurement Canada minister's opening remarks and questions and answers along with Deputy Prime Minister outlining procurement efforts, diplomacy and agreement with Amazon

Minister Anita Anand: […] Public services and Procurement Canada is aggressively and proactively buying in bulk from all available suppliers and distributers. (Speaking French). As the Prime Minister mentioned, there was a delivery from China yesterday. We received approximately 8 million surgical masks and orders made directly by Nova Scotia and Quebec who were also on board. We are expecting more deliveries in the days and weeks to come. The reality is that we are operating in a highly competitive global environment and international logistics are challenging. We are working closely with our partners around the world including embassies, as well, with on-the-ground logistics to ensure that supplies can move from source to where they are needed in Canada right here, right now. With hundreds of millions of pieces of equipment ordered, this is a complex undertaking, even as those supplies arrive in Canada. As the Prime Minister announced late last week, we have entered into an agreement with Amazon Canada which will use its Canadian distribution network including key partners, Canada Post and Purolator to manage the distribution of personal, protective equipment and supplies purchased by the government. As part of our efforts to ensure these supplies are delivered absolutely as fast as possible when they are ready to ship, Amazon is providing these services to Canadians at cost without profit. (Speaking French). When it comes to collaboration between jurisdictions, I can confirm that last Friday I held my first call of the federal provincial territorial meeting. This is essential to securing as many supplies as possible in highly competitive markets and we are working collaboratively together and it is truly heartening to see. I would also like to note that we are working closely with all provinces and territories to offer space on our cargo flights in order to help them bring their shipments back to Canada. The orders from Nova Scotia and Quebec yesterday are examples of that collaborative shipping approach. As an update on equipment ordered, including this order delivered yesterday, we have sourced more than 230 million surgical masks to support the response, over 16 million have been delivered to date. We have also roughly 75 million N95 masks on order. We expect to have roughly 2.3 million masks in Canada's possession by the end of the week. Among other suppliers, we have also ordered over 113,000 liters of hand sanitizer, most of which is expected to be delivered this month. We have received 20,000-liters in the past 24 hours and are expecting another roughly 10,000 liters this week alone. On ventilators, as the Prime Minister mentioned, we have relationships with CAE Ventilators for Canadians and StarFish Medical for thousands more of these life-saving machines. […]

In terms of your question relating to supplies and timelines, ordering, of course does not guarantee a delivery. Ordering means that we have placed an order and contract for products that we need to make sure find their way back to Canada. And in order to make sure that goods find their way back to Canada, we are taking very serious steps on the ground, in to make sure it meets the requirement that countries have before they leave the jurisdiction. For example, in China, we have engaged our embassy on the ground in efforts to ensure our orders are delivered on schedule and those parties are also identifying new opportunities for us. We are also engaging directly with manufacturers on the ground in China. We are also engaged with private firms who are assisting us with quality assurance, opportunities in country logistics, arranging transportation and, for example, assisting us in leasing a warehouse in Shanghai that can store goods once they are sourced and ready to export. Finally, we are arranging our own transportation from Canada. You've been told that 2 planes have already left China and landed here successfully. And we have another one coming this week. And you can see these supply chains are complex, but we are taking every effort to make sure that we get those goods back to Canada and in the hands of front-line healthcare workers. […]

It is difficult, but I will say we are working on short-term and long-term timelines. And we have 2.3 million N95 masks arriving in Canada by the end of this week. So we are seeing progress on that front. […]

So when a situation crops up with regards to supplies coming into Canada, whether it be from the United States or any other country diplomatically and ensuring the supplies make their way back into Canada and that's why I described that situation with China and Chrystia has done a great job. We are determined to make sure supplies get back to Canada once they are ordered and procured and that is our main task and we won't stop until we get it done. […]

Let me start off by saying that talking about the supply chain and the stresses on the supply chain at the current time requires us to be sanguine about the numbers but also realistic. I can assure you that now, that the 3M shipment is coming across the border and will arrive tomorrow. I can also assure you we have a plane that will leave China this week with another shipment of N95 masks on it. Apart from that, I won't be able to and I'm sure people here will agree with me that we are in an era of volatility in global markets. And so every step of the way, we are making sure that the supply chain can function as it should. And where we see shortfall, we will be definitely relying on domestic supply chains to be ramped up and providing equipment to Canadians so that we have complimentary supply chains operating at the same time, both domestic and international. […]

I would say when we ordered masks, we had to ensure that the goods will actually arrive. So it's not just a question of ordering. It's a question of getting them in.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: (Speaking French, voice of translator) Yes, of course, there are other American companies that are major suppliers for Canada. And we are continuing to work on a case-by-case basis to work with those suppliers and, obviously, with the American government. […]

3M has received clear assurances from the government of the United States that shipments to Canada will continue unimpeded. As the Prime Minister said, we are expecting a shipment very soon of 500,000 masks and more shipments from 3M to come. We have other pending shipments from other sources in the United States and we are working collaboratively with our American partners to be sure that those shipments also can make it to Canada. Just as our American partners are working collaboratively with Canada to make sure the medical supplies and services that the United States' services depends on from Canada can continue to flow to the United States. […]

We truly did find a good solution with 3M and I want to thank 3M and our American partners and neighbours and all of the team in Canada who worked on that. With regard to the future, we told our American partners that we have a mutual relationship that is very balanced when it comes to medical care and services. We are interdependent and the best results for Canada and for the United States is to continue to work together. […]

It is a reciprocal relationship and both countries do best when we work together and that's why we were able to achieve a win-win outcome. That will be the argument that we continue to make and advance in our relationship with the United States in these truly difficult and complicated times.

Transcript: Public Services and Procurement Canada Minister Anand COVID-19 interview—Power & Politics—April 7, 2020. Minister references procurement efforts, evaluation of products, and China

Minister Anita Anand: […] We are facing a very tight international market at the current time, meaning that demand for PPE and the N95 in particular is very high, and in addition, the market is very volatile so once we order a good, it's always important for us to keep our eye on that good and make sure that it makes its way to Canada, so what do we do? We work very closely with teams on the ground in the country where we are doing the procurement to ensure that that product is going through the bureaucratic channels and then ultimately making its way via air transport or otherwise back to Canada. In China, for example, we are working closely with Ambassador Barton and his team to make sure that goods get to warehouse. We have a warehouse in Shanghai that we have made sure is available for goods there. We are also working with private companies in China to evaluate the goods, to assist us through the bureaucratic process, and ultimately, we're sending planes over to China to make sure those goods get back to Canada. Already this week, 2 planes have come back to Canada with goods and we're expecting another one this week. […]

The bulk of masks this week, yes, are coming from China and in addition, we have masks, as you know, coming from the United States via that 3M order, so 500,000 masks coming via the border with the United States which should arrive here in Canada this evening or tomorrow. […]

What's so important to remember is that this is procurement like we've never done it before. We are working 24/7, using all diplomatic channels to make sure that goods that we have ordered and procured make their way back to Canada. In the case of 3M, we worked very closely with the American government on launching a full court press to make sure that those goods came back to Canada and we are prepared to do that again with other corporations and other suppliers in the United States and outside of the North American continent if need be. […]

In China, for example, we have retained firms to ensure that we have quality control on the ground in China, then once the goods get back to Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada has the responsibility to go through the goods, to make sure that they are up to speck before they are distributed out, so it's really a 2-tier process to make sure that we are able to meet speck and get those goods out to front-line health care workers in good form. […]

Let me start by saying that we are running, at the same time, complementary channels of supply. That is, we are seeking international procurements at the same time as domestic procurements and so, on ventilators, on masks, on gloves and gowns, we are working very hard with multiple suppliers, leveraging existing supply change and meeting up and contracting with new suppliers so that we can make sure we have luminous goods to distribute to the health care system. On the subject of the 3 companies that are going to be making ventilators for the Canadian market, we are very confident that in the short and the long term, we will be able to rely on these firms for ventilators. The timeline is evolving but Minister Bains, this morning, put a very short timeline on that being weeks and months, so we're very hopeful that these negotiations and contracts can continue to yield positive benefits so that we can run domestic and international supply change in tandem to make sure that we get the goods back home where they need to be. […]

What we have to remember is that there is an existing stock of ventilators in Canada at present and that number is at about 5,000. In addition to that 5,000 number, we also have international procurement contracts for the supply of ventilators and so this domestic re-tooling, building up domestic capacity, is in addition to what we already have, and so we have to remember that there are multiple supply chains operating at once and we are doing our level best to get things completed and out to front-line health care workers as soon as possible.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 6, 2020. Prime Minister discusses relations with United Sates to procure medical equipment

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] We continue to have constructive and productive conversations with officials in the American administration who understand that essential services and supplies are very much a 2-way street between Canada and the United States. We are interconnected and interlinked in so many ways, from primary resources flowing to American companies to make the equipment that is so desperately needed both in North America and around the world, to actual shipments of products that go from Canada to the United States and that go from the United States to Canada. We will continue to work together. We're going to make sure that goods and services that are essential continue to flow, and I expect those shipments to come in soon. […]

We have recognized over the past weeks a number of situations in which shipments coming from different countries around the world have been delayed; haven't arrived with as many products as we were hoping to see. This continues to be an ongoing problem, but specifically with the United States, we are working with them to ensure that the orders that Canada has placed get delivered. We expect those shipments to come. […]

We recognize that it is a reality around the world that some shipments have less equipment than we would have liked, or have been delayed because of actions by different countries around the world. But we will continue to work to ensure that Canada receives everything it needs.

Transcript: Government of Canada officials COVID-19—April 6, 2020. Deputy Prime Minister discusses working with United Sates to procure medical equipment

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: [Speaking French, voice of interpreter] We are very committed to working with all the provinces. We are working hard with the US administration to ensure that all the masks that we've purchased will be exported to Canada. And we did have positive conversations, and we continue to work to solve this situation, which is so vital to our country, with respect to the situation with health services in general. All provinces are working very hard, as is the federal government, of course the situation in Ontario is one that we know very well. There's very good communication with the provinces, with Ontario, with the premier. And we are going to continue to work very hard to ensure that people who are doing essential work to protect us at our hospitals do have the necessary equipment that they need. So we are very aware of the situation that Ontario experienced with some masks it had purchased in the United States and having some trouble getting them across the border. I spoke about that with Premier Ford just a few minutes before this press conference. And immediately called Ambassador Hillman who is now very seized of the issue also. More broadly, we have been working throughout the weekend very, very hard with our American neighbours to ensure that medical supplies can continue to flow across the Canada/US border. And let me emphasize, as we emphasized in our conversations with our American neighbours, that that flow is a 2-way street. The relationship when it comes to medical supplies, when it comes to healthcare between Canada and the United States is, like all aspects of our economic relationship, very balanced, very reciprocal. […]

It's in the interest of both countries to continue supporting each other when it comes to healthcare. Let me just add. I also spoke to the global CEO of 3M, Mike Rowman, who has been doing a great job. The company is taking a very, very responsible position. They understand the very special place they are in right now. And I would really like to commend the company for its approach and for its very constructive relationship with Canada. […]

As Patty pointed out at one of these press conferences last week, it is really a wild west when it comes to buying medical supplies right now. This is a global pandemic. And every country in the world is doing its best in a truly fierce competition to get medical equipment. […]

And it is also why I am so grateful to all of the Canadian manufacturers right across the country who are stepping up to figure out ways that we can make the medical equipment the testing equipment that we need here in Canada. So it's a 2-pronged approach. We are working hard. But it is absolutely very, very tough right now. […]

[Speaking French, voice of interpreter]: It's not up to a company to ignore their country's laws. It's up to a country to solve its issues in this respect. As for 3M, we had a constructive conversation. 3M's approach, while I appreciate it greatly, they have been very responsible, and we discussed what 3M needed from the US administration to continue to export its masks to Canada. We also had discussions with 3M about a central point, and that is there are mutual dependency. We have our 2 countries depend on each other.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 5, 2020. Prime Minister discusses working with the United Sates to procure medical equipment

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: We continue to know that we have to get the necessary equipment and PPE to our frontline health workers. There is a global shortage right now, where people are trying to get as much as they can, and we are continuing to work with all our traditional suppliers and new suppliers to make sure that we're providing the equipment needed for Canadians. That's why we've ramped up domestic production as well and look to have the ability to fill all of our needs domestically within the coming weeks. At the same time, the conversations continue with the American administration in terms of solving this issue because, as I've said, both sides of the border benefit tremendously from the flow back and forth of essential supplies, and of medical goods and services, and that is the point that we're making to the administration. I am confident that we're going to be able to solve this, and I look forward to speaking with the president in the coming days. […]

There was a… many of the shipments are a blend of surgical masks and N95 masks, I'm not entirely sure which particular proportion was in that shipment, but we can get the… more answers to you soon.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau COVID-19—April 4, 2020. Prime Minister Trudeau talks about masks shipment from China, and how the Canadian industry is shifting its production to develop Personal Protective Equipment to cover our needs

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: At the same time, we're working around the clock to get Canada the resources we need. In the next 48 hours we will be receiving a shipment of millions of masks by a chartered cargo flight. We're also working with provinces to transport their medical supplies when possible. Items ordered by Quebec will be on this flight. Our government has also leased a warehouse in China to help collect and distribute these items as quickly as possible, and going forward, the flights we're chartering to get the materials here include Canadian companies Cargojet and Air Canada. […]

No, these are masks that will come from China. We're working to make sure that China's supply chains continue to function, and these masks are from that order. […]

Yes, all the different essential materials and goods and services that move across the border in both directions have been highlighted at many levels. We do not want to start restricting our exports or the services we send to the United States. We understand that our 2 countries are in much better situations if we continue to rely on each other, and I am confident that we will be able to find a solution to this situation. […]

As we've said, we have been working day and night to source medical supplies for Canadian frontline workers. We have shipments coming in in the next 24 hours, we've received shipments over the past days; we continue to work with suppliers around the world to ensure that we do get the medical equipment that we need, and we have more coming in regularly. […]

We are also, of course, turning towards Canadian manufacturers as the tremendous effort that Canadian companies are putting in to develop 'Made in Canada' products—PPE equipment and medical supplies that is going to actually not just supply Canada, but be there to supply other countries who need them as we meet our own needs. […]

We know that there is a global competition for these products. Every country in the world needs more of them. That's why Canada is shifting over so much of its industrial production to develop these masks, these solutions, these equipment, so that we can cover our own needs over the medium and long term and be there to help other countries as… at a point where we have enough for ourselves as we manage the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, in the short term we're continuing to procure the necessary equipment that our women and men on the frontlines need right now.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference to address Canadians on the COVID-19 situation—April 3 2020. Prime Minister announces the agreement with Amazon Canada

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: Before we get into things, I have 2 pieces of news to share with everyone. The first one is about the distribution of critical equipment to provinces and territories. For the past few weeks our government has been working closely with industry to produce the supplies our healthcare workers need, like masks, face shields, gowns, ventilators and test kits. Well, today I can announce that our government has signed an agreement with Amazon Canada to manage the distribution of this equipment to the provinces and territories. […]

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference to address Canadians on the COVID-19 situation—April 2 2020. Prime Minister announces shipment of masks to Hamilton, Ontario, and the plan to mobilize the industry

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] Last night, we received a shipment of over a million masks to a Hamilton warehouse. I know the people there have been working overnight to validate these supplies. This is in addition to the 10 million masks that have come in over the last days and are being distributed to the provinces and territories as quickly as possible. […]

And this team Canada effort goes beyond government. About 2 weeks ago, we launched Canada's plan to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19. Since then, we've spoken to almost 3,000 companies, helping us secure millions of pieces of vital equipment. And I want to share a quintessentially Canadian example of this collaboration: our government has ordered hundreds of thousands of face shields from Bauer, the people who make hockey gear. They're creating shields to protect nurses and doctors against COVID-19. This is exactly the kind of innovative, collaborative thinking we need right now. And I know we're going to see more of it in the coming days. […]

I have seen, and am greatly concerned about, this report, which suggests that the equipment might have been diverted. We are very concerned about that, and we will follow up. I understand the concern of Premier Legault and others. We will follow up with Minister Garneau and Minister Blair, the ministers responsible, to find out what happened, and especially to ensure that the equipment intended for Canada arrives in Canada.

Our goal is to ensure that, once we have moved past this period where there is no production in Canada of this essential equipment, or not enough production, we reach a point where Canadian production is enough for the entire country, and would even be enough, once we have enough for us, to share with other countries in the world that need it.

Transcript: Ministers and Government of Canada officials—April 1, 2020. Deputy Prime Minister explains that Canada has discussions with the United Sates on a regular basis about trade issues and the health situation in both countries

[…] Question: Yes. Hello. I would like to come back to the age of masks in Quebec. Mr. Trudeau said right now, in a very short time masks would be delivered to Quebec from Ottawa's stockpile. But a few minutes ago, Minister Hajdu gave a more nuanced answer. Will Quebec receive masks from Ottawa in the next few days?

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: I can confirm yes. […] We discussed the relationship between the United States and Canada daily. We discussed trade issues between Canada and the US every day. And we discuss the health situation in Canada and in the United States on a daily basis.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a news conference to address Canadians on the COVID-19 situation—April 1, 2020. Prime Minister talks about working with provinces and the Defence Production Act.

Rt. Hon. J. Trudeau: […]

In this situation, we can't guarantee anything. We're working extremely hard to meet the various needs, to ensure that the necessary equipment that is coming from overseas is properly distributed across the country, that we will be able to develop solutions here in Canada to replace the equipment that we are using every day to save lives, to keep our health care workers healthy. We will continue to work with the provinces, with the different jurisdictions, to meet these needs, but a lot depends on the choices that citizens are going to make, on how people behave today and in the weeks to come, on the choices that they make, to be able to keep this pandemic under control and to be able to continue to protect the people who are working to protect us. […]

Yes, absolutely. The federal stockpile is there to help Canadians where they need help. I've spoken directly with Premier Legault, who informed me of the challenges they are facing in Quebec, and we will work very hard to meet these needs. We are waiting for equipment to arrive soon, and more will continue to arrive; we are looking at the various resources that there are across the country. […]

The Defense Production Act that we've seen in the United States is about forcing and ordering companies who might not otherwise do it, to step up and produce the necessary equipment for a wartime or crisis situation. Here in Canada, what we've seen is companies across this country putting up their hands and asking to do it; offering any help they can right across the country to switch their manufacturing over to necessary goods, necessary equipment. We, so far, have seen such an overwhelming response from businesses that we have no need of bringing in at this point a similar act, but of course we'll always keep an eye on what we need to do in future situations, or how we can adjust. And the federal stockpile has been ensuring over the past weeks that there is enough equipment across the country to respond to the needs that the provinces have asked us for. […]

For example, our embassy in China is working extremely diligently to follow up, to receive the material that we have ordered. This is a problem in that so many countries around the world are trying to obtain the same equipment, but we are working and doing everything we can to ensure that there are no shortages anywhere in the country; however, there is still a lot of work to be done. […]

I can tell you that we are expecting to receive deliveries very, very soon, in the next few days if not before.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—March 31 2020. Prime Minister announces agreements with Canadian companies to make medical supplies

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: From coast to coast to coast, businesses are retooling to produce face shields, ventilators, hand sanitizers and other supplies our healthcare professionals need. To make it easier for companies to help out during this critical time, we launched Canada's plan to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19 a little over a week ago. In the time since, we've spoken directly to almost 3,000 companies who have reached out to offer their help. […]

When we announced our plan to mobilize industry, we said that we were close to reaching agreements with Thornhill Medical, Medicom and Spartan Bioscience. Today we're announcing that we have moved forward with contracts with these 3 Canadian companies to make medical supplies such as ventilators, surgical masks, and test kits. […]

We've also signed letters of intent with 5 other companies: Precision Biomonitoring, Fluid Energy Group, Irving Oil, Calko Group and Stanfield's. We know that the demand for critical equipment and supplies will grow in the coming weeks, so we need a sustainable, stable supply of these products; and that means making them at home. And we're optimistic that they will be available in the coming weeks.

So today I'm also announcing that our existing Next Generation Manufacturing Supercluster will be leading companies in developing and scaling up new technologies to test and treat Canadians. Demand for these goods is going up, so we're making sure Canada is ready to keep up. That's why our government is also allocating $2 billion to purchase protective personal equipment, including for bulk purchases with provinces and territories. This includes things like more masks and face shields, gowns, ventilators, test kits and swabs, and hand sanitizer. […]

And on the second question, yes, on procurement. The entire world is trying to get its hands on the various equipment needed to fight this virus. That is why we know that it will be important to be able to have 'Made in Canada' solutions, and I am incredibly, incredibly proud of Canadian companies, Canadian suppliers and manufacturers who are stepping up and saying, we want to help, we will help make ventilators, we will help make masks and gowns, and all the things that we are going to need in the coming weeks. […]

We are trying to speed up all these processes, but we recognize that it will take some time; it will likely be several weeks before the equipment arrives from our Canadian manufacturers. This is why we are continuing to accept and receive shipments of equipment from all around the world.[…]

I think that there are many things that we have to be mindful of in this situation. We are working with our embassies abroad to ensure the supply of other equipment. We expect to receive some in the coming days too. We will continue to be there to accept deliveries to Canada. But at the same time, this is why it is so important to create an industry that will create these measures, this equipment, here at home, that we have supply chains entirely within Canada; and this is exactly what we are doing. […]

We are facing… looking at a global demand for these supplies that is unprecedented. Countries around the world are trying to get more of these supplies. We are expecting to see some shipments coming in very shortly that will help in Canada; we're continuing to work on more shipments in the coming weeks, and we are also working on tooling up our own production so that we can have 'Made in Canada' solutions for the coming weeks and perhaps months if that's how long this lasts. […]

We are offering all the help that we possibly can to all provinces, particularly Ontario and Quebec that are facing difficult situations in terms of supplies. I can tell you that we are going to be receiving shipment very soon of necessary equipment, and there are more to come in the coming days and weeks as well.

Transcript: Ministers and Government of Canada officials—March 31, 2020. Minister Anand announces contract agreements with Medicom, Spartan and Thornhill Medical

Minister Anita Anand: […] As part of these efforts, Public Services and Procurement Canada is aggressively buying in bulk from all available suppliers and distributors. To date, we have ordered millions of swabs, gloves, masks, and other vital equipment. I'll take a moment now to highlight additional progress that we are making. [Speaking French] [Voice of interpreter] We have signed a contract with Medicom to provide an important supply of surgical masks. [End of translation] Including this order, we have now managed to secure more than 157 million surgical masks to support the response. To date, we have also ordered more than 60 million N95 masks, a key piece of protection for healthcare workers. Delivery of these will begin this week. [Speaking French] [Voice of interpreter] We are also working with Spartan, the Ottawa-based company that will provide kits. [End of translation] This will allow us to test many more Canadians over and above the millions of tests we have already ordered. On ventilators, we have a significant order through Thornhill Medical in Toronto, part of the 1,570 ventilators that we have ordered from companies in Canada, Europe, the United States, and overseas. We are working to secure upwards of 4,000 additional ventilators and very possibly more. Canadians have always risen to the occasion in times of challenge. The companies with whom we are working from every region in Canada and abroad are clear examples of this important point. I also want to thank Suncor and Home Depot for stepping up with generous donations of personal protective equipment. [Speaking French] [Voice of interpreter] We know that this type of equipment is very important in order to fight against COVID-19. We will be investing $2 billion additionally in terms of purchasing PPE as well as bulk purchasing in coordination with the provinces and territories. [End of translation] We know how important these supplies are to the fight against COVID-19. […]

[Speaking French] [Voice of interpreter] I have reached out to my provincial and territorial counterparts to assure we have strong and established lines of communication with regard to procurement in addition to the work being done by ministers of health. [End of translation] Extraordinary measures are required in these extraordinary times.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—March 26 2020. Prime Minister indicates that Canada will also take care of other countries as this is a global issue

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […]This is a global pandemic, and it requires global responses. Canada understands that helping others is a way to help ourselves. But I can reassure Canadians that first, we have always been able to meet the provinces' equipment needs that they have communicated to us, and in the coming days we will receive millions of additional medical equipment and supply items to meet all needs. We are also seeing that Canadian companies are manufacturing equipment and coming up with solutions. We will have the necessary equipment to keep Canadians safe, while doing our part internationally, because it is a global crisis.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—March 23 2020. Prime Minister talks about the callout to industry on Buyandsell

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] Minister Bains has also sent a call to action to every university, college, polytechnic and college of general and vocational education (CEGEP) in the country. Their labs have the resources and expertise to be part of this fight. We've asked them to identify equipment they've got, like masks and ventilators. At the same time, we're looking at innovative solutions they can be part of, including 3D printing of medical supplies. Many institutions have already stepped up, and many more will do the same. If you need more information, please go to Supplying goods and services in support of Canada's response to COVID-19. We need all hands on deck.

Transcript: Ministers and Government of Canada officials—March 20, 2020. Minister Anand talks about the success of the callout on Buysandsell

Minister Anita Anand: We have actively promoted this to industry associations and circulated it to all parliamentarians and together we have had over 5,800 submissions from companies offering goods or services to combat COVID-19. […]

Our goal is to be over prepared. We are planning for the future by considering both current and anticipated needs as much as possible. For example we have been able to secure 11.3 million N95 masks which is over and above the order we received for 7.3 million with deliveries beginning immediately. […]

Through the success of the callout and our existing relationships with suppliers we have been able to purchase a broad range of personal protective equipment and supplies including gloves, masks, gowns, hand sanitizers, wipes, ventilators and thermometers among many others. Certain supplies have already been delivered while others will follow.

In many cases we are securing any available supply including smaller quantity purchases to ensure we have what we need. Nous avons fait des progrès importants mais nous savons que la demande mondiale pour ces produits continuera d'augmenter. Des questions comme les restrictions aux frontières autour du monde peuvent affecter les chaines d'approvisionnement. […]

Exactly Nav, the most important point there is these are complementary strategies. We are working together to ensure we are leveraging our relationships with existing suppliers. We're also working additional supply chains and developing new supply chains because we know that this is an era of global demand and we want to be ready.

Transcript: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—March 19, 2020. Prime Minister talks about solutions we will need to consider to do what is necessary

Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau: […] Yes, we are considering using any measures necessary to ensure that Canadians and our healthcare systems have the supports they need. We've already been engaged with industry on production and ramping up capacity to build and create more equipment. We will, of course, look at military procurement as a solution as well. There's a range of things that we can do and we will do what's necessary.

Transcript: Ministers and Government of Canada officials—March 19, 2020. Deputy Prime Minister talks procurement efforts and indicates that Minister Anand will speak about procurement at Cabinet Committee

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland: […] So let me—did you want to answer—let me just say when it comes to procurement, Minister Anita Anand will be speaking about that at our Cabinet Committee on Coronavirus this afternoon. As you've heard from Minister Hajdu, from Patty and from Dr. Tam, and indeed from Minister Miller and from Dr. Wong, this is an area that we are very urgently focused on and we are looking at every single option, every single possibility, whether it is, as Patty mentioned yesterday, the possibility of making some of this stuff at home, whether it is, you know, various really extraordinary procurement efforts around the world that we are engaged in and also in being sure that we know what everyone has so we are able to manage surges across the country.

Key themes from the House of Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meetings

In this section

This document summarizes witness testimony and outlines key points raised by members by theme at recent House of Commons Committee on Government Operations and Estimates (OGGO) meetings on April 24, April 30, May 1, May 4 and May 8. Main themes include personal protective equipment (PPE), national emergency stockpile, Amazon distribution, procurement contracts, departmental spending, office buildings and mental health concerns.

Question and answer period by theme: May 8, 2020 meeting


Procurement contracts

Conservative Party of Canada

The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) asked about TBS guidelines regarding government contracts and the additional oversight measures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mrs. Kelly Block: Minister, I would like to ask you a question with regard to the responsibility that TBS has in overseeing government contracts. Does TBS provide guidelines for government contracts, for example, sole-sourcing?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: On the guidance and the guidelines regarding procurement, yes, Treasury Board has a set of guidelines that have been provided, both before the crisis and during the crisis, to maintain the integrity of the procurement system.

Mrs. Kelly Block: You mentioned that there were guidelines both before and now during COVID. Could you tell us of any additional oversight measures that the comptroller general has implemented to ensure adequate internal controls for COVID-19spending?

Ms. Kathleen Owens (Treasury Board Secretariat): Certainly, with respect to emergency contracting, there are already controls within the policy. The controls are that… First of all, the emergency limits are temporary for COVID-19, so there is a time limit to these exceptional emergency contracts. Also, there is a reporting required to the Treasury Board Secretariat within 60 days on the use of the emergency contracts. In addition, you talked generally about the comptroller general. He has asked all chief financial officers (CFOs) and departments across town to track their COVID-19 expenditures and report back to him so that the spending can be tracked centrally.

Mrs. Kelly Block: I note that the minister referenced that definitely these guidelines apply to the contracts awarded by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC), and I'm wondering if that stands true for contracts awarded for PPE.

Ms. Kathleen Owens: Yes. For any contract using emergency authorities, the same rules apply, regardless.

Mrs. Kelly Block: We were advised yesterday during a briefing that one company, in particular, was awarded a contract now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, and that it's actually a 10-year contract. Can you tell me how that fits in with the emergency limits you've just described for us?

Ms. Kathleen Owens: I think you'd have to ask the PSPC about the specifics of that contract, but the emergency limits refer not to the duration of the contract but to the value of the contract.

CPC asked about the possibility of prepayments in the PPE contracts.

Mrs. Kelly Block: I'd like to turn to the $4.4 billion promised by the government for protecting health and safety, and more specifically, the $2 billion for personal protective equipment and supplies. Can you tell us if the contracts that have been struck, and perhaps even according to the guidelines and measures that have been put in place, the emergency limits, allow for prepayment?

Ms. Kathleen Owens: Again, the specifics of each contract are something you'd have to ask the contracting organization, likely PSPC in this case

Mrs. Kelly Block: Okay, but do your guidelines allow for the prepayment of contracts, regardless of—.

Ms. Kathleen Owens: Advance payments are allowed within financial management policy, generally, subject to certain conditions.

Mrs. Kelly Block: What would those conditions be?

Ms. Kathleen Owens: I am not an expert in the financial rules around them, but in general, advance payments are for receipt of goods or services within the upcoming year. They can't cross fiscal years.

Office buildings usage

Bloc Québécois

The Bloc Québécois (Bloc) asked about the possibility to have shared workspaces become more prevalent in the future.

Mme Julie Vignola: Yes, the crisis is causing a lot of changes. Some time ago, the GCcoworking initiative on shared workspaces was launched. First off all, was it very popular? Next, what lessons were learned from it? Have you thought of expanding it over the next few months or years so that more people can take part?

M. Francis Bilodeau: I believe the measure the member brought up is more within the purview of the comptroller general. Perhaps Ms. Owens could talk about workspaces. As far as telework is concerned, I believe we have seen a big increase in telework capacity. This practice already exists in many organizations outside of government. We are seeing an increased capacity for telework that the government should consider as COVID-19 measures begin to be relaxed and we see a return to the workplace. The Bloc asked what would be done of the numerous government office buildings if teleworking becomes more prevalent and there is no longer a need of so much office space.

Mme Julie Vignola: The number of Government of Canada office buildings is quite amazing. If more and more people are looking at the option of continuing to work from home, what will be done with those buildings if they are used less and less?

L'hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: […] It is an important issue that we will certainly want to consider after the crisis.

Personal protective equipment

Conservative Party of Canada

CPC asked about the availability of PPE for public servants.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Thank you, Minister, for [inaudible] the question to you. We have shortages of PPE. I've been receiving calls from beyond Alberta from professionals who are looking to get PPE so they can go back to work. Are you aware that we had a few flights that came back empty? Are you aware of that?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: May I start by saying that providing personal protective equipment to our public servants is an absolute priority. If you want more details on that I can turn to some of the representatives.

CPC asked about the manifests for all the flights bringing in the equipment.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Thank you, Minister, for that purpose I would really like to ask you if your department or if your minister could provide the manifest for all the flights since the beginning of getting that equipment in until now? The manifest for Air Canada and for Cargojet. I would like to make that request.

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: I would love to answer positively to your important request, however, you would need to turn to PSPC because they are the ones handling all matters of international procurement.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Thank you I would like to make that request if you don't mind to get us this information or ask the department to supply that, would that be possible?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: I think you can make that reasonable request to them and if you would like my assistance to connect you to their team I would be glad to do so.

CPC asked about the origins of the PPE purchased by the Government of Canada (GC) and whether the government has a contract directly with the supplier or is using a middle-man.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: That would be great. Minister, do you know if the government purchased PPEs directly from suppliers or from other countries, yes or no?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: We have a strategy that in the Government of Canada that is based on both international procurement in a world in which PPE are solicited by a large number of countries, and through a significant increase in domestic production. Domestic production is supported by Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) and international procurement is supported by PSPC.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Are you suggesting that we have a contract directly with other countries, or it's going through a middle man, or kind of a private sector?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: I know you want some clear and accurate answers so again I would encourage you and would be able to support you in connecting to PSPC for all the good information that you're seeking.

CPC asked about the availability of PPE for the Canadian Armed Forces assisting with COVID-19.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Minister, on the PPE for the armed forces we've been asking the armed forces to come and assist especially in Quebec in Lavallee and others. How are we making sure that our armed forces are getting the protection needed in order to be able to help and assist in this hard time?

Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos: The importance of protecting our armed forces, especially in light of what they're currently doing in Ontario and Quebec always needs to be reminded, and again would be happy to help engage you with Minister Sajjan who is very mindful of that and could provide details on how he does that.

Question and answer period by theme: May 4, 2020 meeting


Departmental spending on personal protective equipment

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked how much the departments of Health, PSPC and ISED is spending on the procurement of PPE.

Kelly Block: We know that in Bill C-13 that act enacted the Public Health Events of National Concern Payments Act, and that it allows the government to spend, and I'll quote, "all money required to do anything in relation to that public health event of national concern". They have that authority until September 30. I would note that the amount being spent by the government is staggering. While our focus in this meeting today has been on the cost of the numerous income support programs for Canadians and businesses, I'm interested in finding out or knowing how much is being spent by the departments of Health and PSPC, and in particular ISED on the procurement of personal protective equipment?

Andrew Marsland: I am perhaps not the best person to speak to this, but I will try to answer the question. In our report to the finance committee we outlined the amounts dedicated to the areas that the member alluded to. The report says that the total amount is $4.4 billion. The largest amount there is for funding to purchase personal protective equipment, but there is also significant funding in there to assist the provinces and territories in the COVID-19response on a health basis and support for medical research into vaccine development

Question and answer period by theme: Public Services and Procurement Canada officials appearance—meeting of May 1, 2020


Procurement of medical supplies and the supply chain

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked about issues with supply chains.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Gentlemen, thanks very much. It's fascinating work that you're doing. Mr. Whalen, you answered a lot of the questions in advance, but there was a comment by Dr. Lem about his supply lines. He said that he procures everything in the Ottawa area. What about for your company? Are you running into issues from supply lines out of the United States, China or other areas?

Mr. Pat Whalen: Having been in business for the better part of 20 years, and with primarily an international focus to date, we have quite an extensive supply line all around the world. Traditionally, the vast majority of our supplies would come from North American sources, Canada and the United States, with some supplementation from parts of Asia and parts of Europe. We have not encountered any serious problems with that existing supply chain, but with a mind to the future, we are working with our government partners, such as ISED and National Research Council of Canada (NRC), to try to move as much as possible of that supply chain within Canadian borders. We have an active program with them right now on doing exactly that.

I guess to answer your question simply, we have not encountered any significant issues thus far as a result of our very extensive supply chain, but nobody has a crystal ball, which is why we're going to try to shore it up to try to be 100% within the borders.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Is the Government of Canada procuring from you and then distributing to the provinces, or do you have separate contracts with separate provinces?

Mr. Pat Whalen: The federal government is doing the primary procurement and then the distribution of the products to the different provincial health laboratories. We do have some interface, simply by virtue of shipping product to those provincial health laboratories, but the contract is with Canada.

Liberal Party of Canada

The Liberal Party of Canada (LPC) asked about supply challenges with respect to testing.

Mr. Steven MacKinnon: What do you see now, as we sit here today, as the supply challenges with respect to ramping up testing?

Mr. Pat Whalen: I think it's some of the more basic materials, Mr. MacKinnon, things around having Canadian production facilities for swabs and some of the base chemicals that are required for reagents. Having that capacity, I think, will make a world of difference from the standpoint of preparedness moving forward.

Mr. Steven MacKinnon: For certainty of supply, there was a chemical we needed to import from China in significant quantities. Our folks on the ground in China, as well as folks at PSPC, were able to secure that material. Can you comment on that?

Mr. Pat Whalen: It was an interesting situation. It was a supplier we typically use that we know to be very reliable. It makes the highest quality product in the world. Typically this material has to be shipped by boat. We had a shipment scheduled, but it would have taken 30 days to cross the Pacific and make its way across Canada to us. I floated an idea to the Public Health Agency of Canada: What if we put it on a plane? They put us in contact with the people at PSPC, and within a week and a half we had it landed here in Canada, in Fredericton, safe and secure. It was a true team effort involving Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC, PSPC and the Embassy of Canada to China, in Beijing. There were a lot of people involved, and it's a great success story.


New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party (NDP) asked about government contracts.

Mr. Matthew Green: I can't, though, shake the future prospect of recurring epidemics like this, and I just want to explore something. We've heard today from Mr. Whalen about the order of magnitude in scaling up his business. We heard about the procurement of chemical reagents. I'm just wondering, for either of you, if you were previously contracted with the government in any way. Have you had government contracts before?

Mr. Pat Whalen: I'm answering first. Sorry, Dr. Lem. The answer to that is no, not in Canada. We have had government contracts in other jurisdictions.

Mr. Paul Lem: For our company, we had a government contract for legionnaire's disease testing with the same small device and the same cartridges.

Mr. Brad Redekopp: Where are you with the federal government on those negotiations, and what sort of responses are you getting from them?

Mr. Paul Lem: We've had excellent interaction with ISED, PSPC and also PHAC. Right now PHAC is creating a model as to how many Canadians will have to be tested in order to get back to work. Once they have those numbers, we will, hopefully, be negotiating a contract to increase that supply to meet that demand

National Emergency Strategic Stockpile

New Democratic Party

The NDP asked about the replenishment of the National Emergency Strategic Stockpile.

Mr. Matthew Green: It's critically important, because there's been an ongoing conversation about the national emergency strategic stockpile supply. I heard Mr. Whalen talk about the term of his contract. I heard him talk about perhaps March 31, 2021. In your modelling, have you started to envision what it would look like in terms of requirements to replenish domestic stockpiles before you start to shift into export? Has that been a condition or a feature in your contract with the federal government that you do provide that support going forward into whatever phase of this comes next?

Mr. Pat Whalen: I would say it's something that we have certainly thought about on our side, which is why we're looking at a more permanent solution to scale up our production. We are thinking about that on our side. We have not yet engaged in any substantive discussions with anybody at PHAC or other agencies about a longer-term engagement, but we're very much open to it when and if the time comes.

Mr. Paul Lem: For our company, we've been highlighting to the government that we are facing overwhelming demand from foreign governments—I think there are over 20 of them—and foreign corporations that want to buy all of our supplies starting in the summer, once we have more. Right now, PHAC is creating a model regarding how much of their supply they're going to want. This is where I think it's going to be important that Canada establish some sort of stockpile or something like that, because otherwise, if we offered our supply right now, we could sell a billion dollars' worth worldwide within a week.

Personal protective equipment

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked about procedures for PPE within Canadian companies as well as any challenges in getting PPE.

Mr. Brad Redekopp: How are you guys operating in this new environment regarding PPE specifically? Has that been an issue for you in terms of providing procedures and guidelines for your staff and PPE in your actual workplaces?

Mr. Pat Whalen: We haven't had any limitations ourselves. We already use substantial amounts of PPE in our manufacturing facilities, and so we had gloves, N95 masks, face shields and all of these things already on hand. We haven't had any kind of interruption in that supply chain just based on its maturity.

Mr. Brad Redekopp: I noticed that you have a standard of ethics on purchasing. In this environment, has that made it challenging to get PPE, to source it first of all and to have good-quality PPE?

Dr. Kevin Smith: It has been very challenging. As we know, very few of the more common materials have continued to be made in North America, so we have attempted to source most of them internationally at the same time as the world is sourcing those materials. In working with the Government of Canada, we were the purchasing agent for a very large number of masks and other supplies, which unfortunately did not come to fruition, in the order of 100 million masks. Unfortunately we have not seen the large international orders realized and landed on the ground. This was complicated slightly, I think, by transport through the continental United States. There was an expectation that orders would be shipped to Canada, but at one point the United States government made some changes in what they were willing to ship outside of the country.

Question and answer period by theme: Public Services and Procurement Canada officials appearance—meeting of April 30, 2020


Personal protective equipment supply

Conservative Party of Canada

CPC asked about foreign actors seizing our PPE supply.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif (Edmonton Manning, CPC): Thank you, Chair. This is a question for Mr. Kennedy. Is ISED aware that there have been many deliberate attempts by foreign actors to seize our PPE supply for their own domestic benefit? According to Global News, this has been going on since probably January, and it's by a group that is tied to the People's Republic of China. Are ISED and the government aware of that, yes or no, and what is our plan to somehow counter or pre‐ vent that from happening?

Mr. Simon Kennedy: I would say that, as the Deputy Prime Minister has been widely quoted in the press as saying, there is a bit of a wild west internationally in terms of efforts to procure these kinds of supplies. I'll be frank with this committee that I'm not directly involved in the international procurement of these supplies. That's run by Public Services and Procurement Canada, so some of the specific answers to those questions would have to be directed to them.

Canadian made personal protective equipment and other goods

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked about Canadian raw materials available to make PPE.

Mr. Ziad Aboultaif: Speaking of local manufacturing and dependency on local products, do we have the proper raw materials in Canada to be able to produce some of the PPE?

Mr. Simon Kennedy: Mr. Chair, I think the great answer to that is that in many cases we do. This is new territory, I think, for many of us, in the private sector as well as in government…There's a global shortage of the specialized fabric that's used to make medical and surgical gowns and other kinds of protective clothing, but we've been able to discover Canadian-made fabric that actually meets all of the specifications of Health Canada…The company that makes that fabric, which is in Nova Scotia, has shifted its supplies to the garment industry and we're now making these medical gowns in Canada.

Liberal Party of Canada

LPC asked about making domestic companies aware of available opportunities to assist the government.

Mr. Patrick Weiler: Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you to the witnesses for taking time out of their busy days to come to speak to this committee. There are many distilleries in my riding that have retooled to be able to make hand sanitizers. There's also a sizable recreational technology sector that has the ability to retool and produce medical gowns. How are you marketing to these and other businesses the opportunities that are available for them to contribute to the federal government's efforts to get through the pandemic?

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: I don't know that I would say we're necessarily marketing in any way, shape or form. I think the fact that our website has been available and the fact that we've received such an enthusiastic response demonstrate that Canadians and Canadian companies are keenly aware of the fact that there's a need domestically to be able to have as much product as possible to be able to assist, not just our front-line workers, but all Canadians as well…The other thing I would say is that as an organization, one of the things we're also doing is reminding Canadian companies that, of course, while we're always interested and hope that Canadian companies will think about doing business with the Government of Canada, we are not the only entity right now that is buying personal protective equipment and other equipment. Our provincial and territorial counterparts are looking for some, as well as hospital groups and other groups.

Procurement contracts and small and medium-sized businesses

Bloc Québécois

The Bloc asked how many of the 26,000 applications to assist the government were from small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs).

Mrs. Julie Vignola: Thank you. You said earlier that of the 26,000 Canadian companies that raised their hands, 16,500 had applied. Of these 16,500 companies, how many are SMEs?

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: … I can't give you specific numbers. In my experience at the office of small and medium enterprises, the vast majority of the companies we deal with are small businesses. Our definition of a small or medium-sized business is the one established by Statistics Canada, such as a business with 499 employees or less. According to statistics, the vast majority of businesses in Canada fall into this category. Even if I can't give you an exact number, it wouldn't surprise me if the vast majority of companies involved are small or medium-sized, and rather small.

New Democratic Party

The NDP asked about accountability mechanisms.

Mr. Matthew Green: When you take in a contract for procurement, is there a mechanism within your department that shows when the contract has been completed?

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: I think what I would say in this regard is that, as the office of small and medium enterprises, we want to help educate companies on what it's like to do business with the Government of Canada. As part of that information, one of the things that we tell them of course is that doing business with the Government of Canada is not the same as doing business with the private sector, and that there are more obligations. As well, ultimately some more information could be made publicly available than otherwise would be the case in traditional business-to-business situations. That is one of the things that we want to help suppliers understand. When dealing with Canadian taxpayers' money, there is a higher level of review that is done.

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked about the difficulties in getting through the request for proposal (RFP) process.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Are you seeing Public Works working towards making it an easier process right now to try to get items bought and items built? Or are we still dealing with the same cumbersome RFP process? …Are you seeing any change from Public Works, from up above, to lighten up the process to help out SMEs?

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: Thank you for the question. One of the things that we are happy to report when we speak to companies is the fact that over the course of the past couple of years and the last—

Mr. Kelly McCauley: I'm thinking more of the last 2 months or the last month.

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: Specifically with regard to COVID-19 related procurement?

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Yes.

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: It's difficult for me to answer. As I mentioned, my team doesn't actually do procurement, so I need to be cautious on this. What I would say is that I think what we've observed is the fact that there has been a movement to be able to do things as quickly as possible while, as you know, ensuring that due diligence is undertaken

Liberal Party of Canada

LPC asked about the modernization of procurement contracts in the context of SMEs.

Mr. Francis Drouin: Have you seen any improvement as a result of the modernization of procurement? Were those terms and conditions taken into account when dealing with SMEs? How does this relate to SMEs access to procurement in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Mr. Lorenzo Ieraci: As I mentioned earlier, there are many activities underway related to the modernization of federal procurement that we are sharing with small and medium-sized enterprises when we have an opportunity to discuss them…I'll give you 2 examples. First of all, over the past year, we undertook a major effort to simplify contracts to make their wording and structure easier for companies to understand. In the past, companies have told us that they received documents where information pertinent to them only started on page 75, so the structure may not have been the right one. We already have drafts, and our department was in a position before the current crisis to start using these new approaches to procurement. I hope we'll be able to continue to do that. My second example is the work the department continues to do to develop a digital platform related to procurement. We want to migrate from our current system to a digital and automated system, and this project is also continuing to move forward.

National security exemption

Conservative Party of Canada

The CPC asked about sole-source contracts and the invoking of the national security exemption (NSE).

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Are we seeing a spike in sole-source contracts being granted in dealing with this issue?

Mr. Alexander Jeglic: I wouldn't be able to speak to the numerical data now, but I would imagine that section 6 of the government contracting regulations is being invoked due to the emergency situation. What that exception does is allow for sole-sourcing in these unique circumstances.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Yes, I suspect that, and I understand it in some ways. I also imagine that we're going to see a huge spike in the government's invoking of the national security exemption in order to sole-source as well. What remedy do some of our SMEs or other companies have in dealing with this after the fact? The reason I ask is that we heard someone else from PSPC justify the buying of substandard masks from China because, quote, we have a past "relationship" with this company. I'm wondering if the government is using this crisis to skip over legitimate competitive bidding. What's going to be our recourse for our companies that are dealing with this?

Mr. Alexander Jeglic: Again, thank you for the question. As I mentioned in the speaking notes, we are in fact the recourse mechanism for those companies so long as that meets the threshold of our jurisdiction, which is $26,400 for goods and $105,700 for services. As I mentioned, the Canadian—

Mr. Kelly McCauley: I suspect the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) is going to have to deal with that.

Mr. Alexander Jeglic: Exactly, yes.

Question and answer period by theme: Public Services and Procurement Canada officials appearance—meeting of April 24, 2020


Personal protective equipment

Conservative Party of Canada

CPC asked about the departmental plan not mentioning the procurement of PPE and inquired when purchasing PPE started.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: I looked at your own departmental plans that you published on March 12. Even though this was well past the start of the COVID-19 crisis, there is no mention in your departmental plans of PPE supplies and priorities around that. I'm just curious as to why.

Hon. Anita Anand: Once again I want to emphasise that the orders we are placing and the approach we are taking to procurement in very difficult international circumstances characterized by extremely high demand is that we are taking requests from the Public Health Agency of Canada. We are going above and beyond the orders they are providing to us. Questions relating to the national emergency stockpile should be directed to the Public Health Agency and Health Canada. That is not within our purview.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: A follow-up question to that is, when did you actually start the purchasing in a major way? The reason I ask is that, when we started the daily phone calls with Health, I think in the second week or the first week after we rose from sitting, I asked a question about respirators. We were told on the call from the department that we're not buying any respirators and we don't need them. The very next week, I think it was March 26, I asked a question about PPE, and the comment came back—this was from all the government departments sitting around the phone—that we are not buying any more PPE and we don't need it. Here we have your predecessor saying that ensuring the national stockpile is not a priority. It's not listed once in your departmental plans, although I do note that banning plastic straws is a priority, but not the PPE. Then we have the government itself in the conference calls to members of parliament stating, almost up to the end of March, that respirators and PPE are not needed. When did we decide they were needed? When did we start the major purchasing?

Hon. Anita Anand: The first question relates to what you referred to as "passing the buck". It's quite the contrary. We are engaged in intense cross-government collaboration and cross-provincial and -territorial collaboration. From the outset, we have been working directly with provincial and territorial governments to inform our bulk-buying approach. In fact, I'm in regular contact with my provincial and territorial counterparts to ensure that we are meeting their needs. I have had a call every 2 weeks with them to ensure that we are meeting their needs—

Hon. Anita Anand: The second part of your question related to ventilators and the purchases of ventilators. In terms of ventilators, you have to recognize that there is a set of ventilators already in Canada, 5,000 to be exact. That's quoting from our chief medical officer, Dr. Theresa Tam. In addition, we have procured 500 ventilators, which are being distributed out to the provinces. On top of that, we are building up domestic supply for 30,000 ventilators from domestic corporations. We are purchasing in bulk, in addition to the existing stockpile of ventilators. You have to remember, when you are asking about additional purchases, that there were ventilators already in existence in Canada—

Hon. Anita Anand: Furthermore, if I could continue, the process of purchasing equipment exists not only at the federal level, but provinces and health care centres are also buying their own PPE. Getting the information about federal numbers is only part of the story, which I am filling in, but the provinces and health care centres also tell part of this story, and it's a collaborative approach that we are taking.

CPC asked about the supply chains in place in China for the procurement of PPE and the quality control done to ensure that the PPE meets the required standard.

Mrs. Kelly Block: Minister Anand, there have been a number of stories reporting that Canada is building a supply chain in China. These stories have highlighted the connections that the current government has in that country, so I'm wondering if you could answer the following questions. Who is on the ground, so to speak, or which department is in China overseeing the supply chain and ensuring the supplies get off the ground in China? Given that there is yet another story about 1 million substandard masks arriving here, who is ensuring quality control over this Canadian made-in-China supply chain?

Hon. Anita Anand: I'm going to take that question in 2 parts: the first relating to on-the-ground operations in China, and the second relating to quality control. The very first point that we have to remember, and we cannot stress this enough, is that it's a highly competitive global environment and international logistics are challenging. We are working very closely with our embassy in China, as well as with on-the-ground logistics experts in the private sector to get supplies into the hands of health care workers on the front lines of the crisis. This means that from the point of contracting to the point of arrival in Canada, we have a multi-stage process in place. Our Ambassador Barton in China and I are in almost daily contact about the situation in China, and in addition to private firms in China, assists us with getting the goods to the warehouse and then through the bureaucratic channels and on the planes and over to Canada. We are ensuring we have a diversified source of supply. When I talk about diversity, I mean diversity of country, of manufacturer, of goods, of suppliers, and ultimately of air carriers. As for the flights that have arrived in Canada, over 10 flights now have arrived from China. The goods have been successfully warehoused and are getting out to Canadian health care workers. The second part of your question related to quality control. Without question, quality control is a concern for us. That's why we have quality control occurring in China as well as on the ground in Canada. Once the goods get to Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada has testing measures in place. They're in place for the very purpose of ensuring quality control of essential products so that the equipment that is sent out is safe for our health care workers. We do hold back some supplies that don't meet the medical testing standards. At PSPC, we're constantly adjusting our procurement approach to mitigate this issue at the outset. This is a key reason we're continuing to diversify our supplier base so that we're not drawing on one supplier only. Our commitment overall is to supply a good product to front-line health care workers.

CPC asked whether the contaminated items bought from a supplier in China were prepaid and if the GC will receive a reimbursement.

Mr. Kelly McCauley: Mr. Matthews, maybe you could consider finding these documents that Mr. Green has asked for. Even though it's not a legitimate, so to speak, motion, maybe we can share them with the committee. Let me get to a couple of things regarding the contaminated supplies, for example, the 1 million masks and the other contaminated items. Were these items prepaid? Are we getting the money back for them, or is that money just gone?

Mr. Bill Matthews: The mask company has committed to supplying acceptable products, so they are standing behind their product. We have an ongoing relationship with them. We are looking at the masks in terms of what can be done with them. The relationship with the supplier will continue, and they are standing behind their product, Mr. Chair.

Liberal Party of Canada

The LPC asked about the efforts to support local businesses retooling in order to produce PPE.

Mr. Patrick Weiler: I have been speaking to many business owners and leaders in my community, such as John Ryckman, who is interested in using his own business, Edge Catering, to supply meals to those in need during this pandemic. Other individuals and businesses are using 3D printers to manufacture face shields and other PPE. Can you describe our government's efforts to support local suppliers or individuals who are helping to address the COVID-19 response?

Hon. Anita Anand: The first effort we made to make sure we had the ability to reach a broad range of suppliers was to put a call out to suppliers on the Buyandsell.gc.ca website. As I mentioned, we have received over 26,000 responses from suppliers domestically and internationally. Your question related to the domestic industry. I, like you and probably every member of Parliament around the table, have heard from people who would like to step up. This is characteristic of the approach we are seeing from the Buyandsell.gc.ca website. I want to commend Canadian industry and businesses alike for stepping up in this way. What we are doing after we receive the supply offer is contacting each of these people, which we've done. Then we go ahead and make contracts with some of them. In addition to PSPC's efforts, ISED is leading the plan to mobilize industry to fight COVID-19. As much as possible, we are trying to secure supplies from Canadian manufacturers so that we can get them into the hands of front-line health care workers as soon as possible. Some key examples are companies like Bauer for face shields, Stanfield's for medical gowns, Irving Oil for hand sanitizer, Medicom for masks, Spartan for test kits, Thornhill Medical for ventilators, and the list goes on as you can see. We are seeking to ensure that we have multiple supply chains operating at the same time. That means we want to make sure we have domestic sources of supplies as well as international sources of supplies, so that we have supply chains operating in tandem, which is a way of not putting all our eggs in one basket, if you will. It's very important to have complementary supply chains and that's the importance of building up domestic capabilities.

Green Party of Canada

The Green Party asked when PSPC was first instructed to start procurement for PPE.

Ms. Elizabeth May: In terms of what you've experienced since the COVID-19 crisis began—and I think some of the other questioners and Mr. McCauley were getting at this, too—when were you first given instructions that we needed to really bulk up our procurement around PPE?

Mr. Bill Matthews: If we reflect back, you would have seen some minor small orders towards the end of January or early February. As for the first big order, a collaborative one with the provinces—this is where the Public Health Agency came in with a big order that involved multiple provinces—it was March 10 or March 11, and that would have been done after several weeks of consultation among the various health authorities in the provinces, territories and the federal government


Bloc Québécois

The Bloc asked why Amazon is working on the distribution of PPE instead of using Canada Post, and whether Canada Post is able or not do what Amazon does.

Mrs. Julie Vignola: I understand that Amazon is lending us their online business platform. However, I wonder why Canada Post is not doing all the distribution. Is Canada Post's platform unable to do what Amazon's does?

Hon. Anita Anand: The health and safety of Canadians is our top priority. That is why we are committed to ensuring that front-line healthcare providers get vital supplies as quickly as possible. As you mentioned, we signed an agreement with Amazon Canada, in conjunction with Canada Post and Purolator, to help manage the distribution of personal protective equipment and supplies purchased by the federal government. They play different roles. Amazon has an online platform. Amazon puts on that platform the items that we are going to distribute. The provinces and territories can place orders on that platform, which are then distributed by Canada Post. So they play different roles, and Canada Post does not have the platform needed to play the same role as Amazon

New Democratic Party

The NDP asked about the possibility of self-dealing by Amazon during its partnership with the federal government.

Mr. Matthew Green: We've heard today Amazon first characterized by the minister as a Canadian company, then, of course, corrected to say that it was a company that had Canadian operations. We know that the owner of Amazon has profited, I don't know, something like $24 billion during COVID. We know also, at least to my best knowledge, and somebody here perhaps can correct me, but I don't believe they pay any federal taxes. What do we have in place to ensure, based on the descriptions we've had on their logistics, that even though they're doing this at no cost, there isn't an ability for there to be self-dealing on their platform? Notwithstanding the fact that they're still going to be selling these items, is there any possibility or has the potential been explored of self-dealing between the Amazon platform and the logistics work they're doing with us for the federal government?

Mr. Bill Matthews: There's a lot in that question, some of which I cannot answer in terms of income tax, and so on. However, in terms of the arrangement that the government has reached with Amazon and partners, it's dedicated to allow for, basically, ordering and distribution of the federally acquired goods and services—or sorry, goods, not services. It's distinct from their regular operations. What's unique about Amazon in this case is their outward-facing retail platform that would let provinces and territories effectively put in orders for PPE to the national warehouse. That's the unique feature there. As has been mentioned, the warehousing and distribution is Amazon and Canada Post plus Purolator. It's very much a distinct arrangement at no profit for the first few months, and we'll go from there. It's very much distinct. I wouldn't view it as being mixed in with their regular operations.

National Emergency Stockpile

New Democratic Party

The NDP asked how the surplus PPE of the national emergency stockpile were disposed of and inquired about the possibility that the surplus could have been sold.

Mr. Matthew Green: I'm going to pick up where my friend Mr. McCauley left off as it relates to the role of the minister in the national emergency supply stockpile. I understand the stockpiles have been disposed of in accordance with the Treasury Board directive on the disposal of surplus material. Am I to understand that the disposal of surplus items that would go through the GCSurplus portal would be within the Buyandsell framework? Are you aware of or is your ministry involved in selling the surplus items?

Hon. Anita Anand: I am not in charge of expired items. That is within the realm of the Public Health Agency of Canada. I believe you referred to the Regina stockpile, so I'm wondering if I could make a comment on that.

What I'm responsible for is procuring the items; that's buying the items that come into Canada. Once they come into Canada and they are placed in the warehouse, they are inspected by the Public Health Agency of Canada. My department does not have a role in that inspection. They are then distributed out to the provinces in accordance with a formula that Health Canada reached with the provinces and territories on the basis of an 80/20 split. Again, that is nothing that I have control over, but I will turn to my deputy minister, Bill Matthews—

Well, we do run GCSurplus for surplus goods that departments want to get rid of, but we would not sell expired goods.

Other themes

Bloc Québécois

The Bloc asked about PSPC's approach to prevent further planes from leaving China empty.

Mrs. Julie Vignola: We have already talked about warehouses being emptied for communication reasons. I believe it also has something to do with logistics. Recently, we learned that 2 planes left China completely empty. We now know that there was a traffic jam outside the airport. However, my question remains: What are you doing now to ensure that this kind of situation never happens again?

Hon. Anita Anand: It rained last weekend, which made things very difficult, but only 1 flight chartered by the federal government was involved. We have taken other measures to make sure the planes can take off more easily. First, we have 2 terminals at the airport. The first is for Cargojet and the second is for Air Canada. We are diversifying our approach in China. Second, through the embassy there, Deloitte Canada and Boloré Logistics are helping us with procurement. So we have already done a lot of things to make sure this problem doesn't happen again.

Liberal Party of Canada

The LPC asked about the relationship between PSPC and PHAC.

Mr. Francis Drouin: I have a question with regard to the relationship between PSPC and the Public Health Agency. How does that work? After that I want you to comment on—and I'm directing the question to Mr. Matthews, but feel free to pass it on to whomever can best respond—PSPC and the relationship with the provinces. How are the needs determined across Canada? The minister said she has a biweekly call with ministers, but I'm assuming there are many more calls that are happening with your counterparts at the provincial level. I'm just asking you to comment on how that works.

Mr. Bill Matthews: I have a couple of comments. Yes, as the member mentioned, I have some friends with me, and I'll be happy to turn to them should I need some help. The Public Health Agency, like other departments, is a client of PSPC, so when it places orders we do our best to fill them and we talk about schedules and need. What's unique about the current circumstance is that in normal times, provinces, territories and others, hospitals, health authorities, etc., would do their own ordering. Because of the crisis, there is a role here for the federal government at the health tables with the provincial and territorial governments. There's been some collaboration through the health departments to put collaborative orders in place. There's ongoing dialogue between the Public Health Agency, the Department of Health in Canada and its provincial and territorial counterparts to assess orders, assess needs and then give PSPC, effectively, large orders to place. Those large orders are very important in terms of getting the attention of potential suppliers in a very competitive market, as was highlighted earlier. That's the interplay. The ongoing needs of the provinces and territories are absolutely done through the health tables. That's an important dialogue there, and then our intersection is with the Public Health Agency and Health Canada. The table you're referring to, which the minister referred to, is one where she has a regular check-in with her ministerial colleagues, which is a combination of.... In some cases provinces have put health ministers forward as their representatives, and in other cases it's more an equivalent to the minister of PSPC, just to have an ongoing dialogue about common issues, what we can do better, where the gaps are and to help fill that in, but there are, as the member suggested, many conversations that go on among federal and provincial counterparts. The most important ones, I would say, are at the health tables, which talk about the need, forecasts and any potential shortages.

Committee member biographies

In this section

Committee members from the Liberal Party of Canada

Francis Drouin (vice-chair): Liberal member of Parliament for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell

Francis Drouin
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

Mr. Drouin primarily focused on the interests of his constituency, including Phoenix as a member of Parliament in the National Capital Region (NCR).

Mr. Drouin also maintains an interest in interprovincial crossings and traffic.

Other interests and interventions

The member has risen most often in the House of Commons regarding rural economy, supply management and internet access.


Mr. Drouin has been quite active on social media promoting government initiatives and information relating to COVID-19. In particular, he has focused on local support initiatives, the dairy industry and the agricultural industry.

Furthermore, he retweeted a call from Canadian Chamber of Commerce President Perrin Beatty asking for manufacturers who can retool to manufacture medical equipment to get in touch with the government to help.

Interventions at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. Drouin questioned Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) officials about the relationship between PSPC and the Public Health Agency of Canada as well as the department's relationship with the provinces. In particular, how provincial needs are determined across Canada. Further, he also enquired about how PSPC contracts companies to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies.

In his second round, Mr. Drouin discussed some barriers that exist for companies that want to sell medical devices, including the approval process with Health Canada, and the steps they must undertake for them to qualify.

Majid Jowhari: Liberal member of Parliament for Richmond Hill

Majid Jowhari
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As Mr. Jowhari has been a member of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates since 2017, he is familiar with the mandate of PSPC.

Other interests and interventions

Mr. Jowhari introduced a private Member's bill in the 42nd Parliament to amend the Criminal Code to require that a presentence report contain information on any aspect of the offender's mental condition that is relevant for sentencing purposes. The bill was adopted by the House of Commons but died on the Order Paper at 1st reading in the Senate with the dissolution of Parliament.


Mr. Jowhari has been active in sharing a wide range of government initiatives related to the COVID-19 crisis, including loans for small businesses, mental health resources, self-isolation measures, and help for seniors.

Irek Kusmierczyk: Liberal member of Parliament for Windsor— Tecumseh

Irek Kusmierczyk
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

Considering the members' previous work, he may have an interest in green procurement and greening government.

Other interests and interventions

Mr. Kusmierczyk has risen most often in the House of Commons regarding trade agreements.

Riding considerations

As of April 28, 2020, 43 residents in the greater Windsor area had died of COVID-19.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. Kusmierczyk questioned the minister and PSPC officials about the relationship between PSPC and other government departments and governments. Further, he enquired about the Canadian capacity to address the demand for PPE in the context of companies retooling to produce supplies and equipment.

Steven MacKinnon: Liberal member of Parliament for Gatineau

Steven MacKinnon
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

Mr. MacKinnon is interested in the Phoenix pay system, prompt payment and interprovincial crossing.

Other interests and interventions

The member appeared in front of the Official Language Committee concerning the role of the department with the implementation of the Official Language Act.


Mr. MacKinnon has been active in sharing a wide range of government measures related to COVID-19, including loans and mental health services.

Patrick Weiler: Liberal member of Parliament for West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast- Sea to Sky Country

Patrick Weiler
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada Portfolio

As an environmental and natural resource management lawyer, Mr. Weiler may have a particular interest in greening government initiatives.

Other interests and interventions

The member has risen in the House of Commons most often regarding affordable housing, climate change and global warming.


Mr. Weiler has been active on social media posting regular updates and information about COVID-19. He donated his legislated member of Parliament pay raise on April 1 to local charities responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. Weiler questioned the minister and PSPC officials on the government's efforts to support Canadian suppliers and individuals that are helping to address the COVID-19 response, whether through providing meals or retooling their businesses to manufacture supplies. Further, the member asked how the department was addressing the backlog of applications to support government efforts to fight this pandemic.

Committee members from the Conservative Party of Canada

Ziad Aboultaif: Conservative member of Parliament for Edmonton Manning

Ziad Aboultaif
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As the critic for digital government, Mr. Aboultaif is likely to have a particular interest in the Phoenix pay system backlog and the next generation pay system.

Other interests and interventions

During the 42nd Parliament, the member was active in the House of Commons most often regarding the Canada Pension Plan and International trade.


Mr. Aboultaif has been active on social media sharing information about the COVID-19 crisis as it relates to the province of Alberta and the city of Edmonton, as well as sharing information on federal government initiatives such as the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB), and the boost to the Canada Child Care Benefit.

On April 16, the city of Edmonton extended its state of emergency due to COVID-19 and cancelled all sports leagues until the end of May. Alberta recently expanded testing to all residents and staff of long-term care facilities that see an outbreak of COVID-19.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. Aboultaif questioned officials on the reports of planes returning from China without cargo, the cost of cancelling cargo jets, and government contracts with airlines for shipping or carrying products.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting on April 30, 2020

Mr. Aboultaif questioned officials regarding the location of the chain supplies of the companies supplying for the government and the PSPC timelines in assessing companies applying to supply the Government of Canada (GC).

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting on May 8, 2020

Mr. Aboultaif questioned Minister Duclos regarding the availability of PPE for public servants working with the public. He further asked if he could get the manifest for all the flights bringing in equipment. He also enquired about the procurement of PPE and the contracts, whether they are done with countries, the private sector, or a middle man.

Kelly Block: Member of Parliament for Carlton Trail-Eagle Creek

Kelly Block
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

During Question period she has raised questions regarding the increase in cost to Canada Post's postage stamps, and procurement modernization.

As critic of PSPC, Ms. Block will have a good understanding of PSPC's portfolio.

Other interests and interventions

During the 42nd Parliament Ms. Block rose most often regarding Bill C-49, an act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other acts and the oil and gas industry.


Ms. Block has been active on social media and critical of the government's preparedness for this crisis, including that it was behind in its ability to procure PPE. Ms. Block further authored a post on her website criticizing the government's openness to introducing a law to make it an offence to knowingly spread misinformation online about COVID-19. The member argues that Canada already has laws in place to protect against those making false and dangerous health claims, and that this an attempt to limit free speech. footnote1

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Ms. Block questioned the minister and officials on the oversight of the "made-in-China" supply chain and who is ensuring quality control over the products. Further, she asked about the process of receiving supplies from China and who takes ownership on the ground in Canada.

Intervention at the Special Committee on the COVID 19 pandemic meeting on April 29, 2020

Ms. Block raised concerns about a surge in counterfeit PPE coming into Canada. She asked about the companies ordering the counterfeit PPE and the measures taken in order to stop those shipments.

In another intervention, Ms. Block asked about the quantity of PPE produced in Canada and the accessibility to PPE for businesses' employees in order to safely return to work.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting on May 8, 2020

Ms. Block asked about Translation Bureau Secretariat (TBS) guidelines regarding government contracts and about oversight measures that the comptroller general has implemented to ensure adequate internal controls for COVID-19spending. She further inquired about the application of those measures to PPE contracts and raised that a contract has been awarded for a 10-year period, questioning how it fits within the emergency limits in place. She also asked about the possibility of prepayments.

Tom Lukiwski (Chair): Conservative member of Parliament for Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan

Tom Lukiwski
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As the current and former Chair of the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates, Mr. Lukiwski will be familiar with the mandate of PSPC.

Other interests and interventions

The member has not risen in the current Parliamentary session.

Kelly McCauley: Conservative member of Parliament for Edmonton West

Kelly McCauley
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As a current and former critic for PSPC, Mr. McCauley is familiar with the mandate of PSPC. He has shown a particular interest in the integrity regime and defence procurement.

Other interests and interventions

The member introduced a private Members bill in the 42nd Parliament in order to amend the Income Tax Act to remove the requirement to withdraw minimum amounts from a registered retirement income fund. It also makes a related amendment to another act. The bill was defeated, as of December 13, 2016.


Mr. McCauley has been active on social media in calling for the government to reconvene parliament to allow it to be held to account, and he has called for support for the oil and gas sector. In an April 16 Facebook post, the member stated that he plans to question the government on contaminated testing kits and why, according to the previous minister of PSPC, acquiring PPE was "not a priority" for the liberal government.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. McCauley had questions for the minister and officials on the national emergency stockpile, and when the government began major purchasing of ventilators and PPE. Further, the member had questions about the shipment of masks to Canada that were unusable and the contaminated swabs, including whether or not Canada would be reimbursed for these products.

Intervention at the COVID-19meeting on April 29, 2020

Mr. McCauley asked about the substandard and contaminated N95 masks from China would be replaced at no further charges. He claimed that if the masks are used for non-medical purposes, they would not be replaced free of charge, and asked what non-medical purposes would there be for the masks.

Committee members from the Bloc Québécois

Julie Vignola (vice-chair): Bloc Québécois member of Parliament for Beauport—Limoilou

Julie Vignola
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As the critic for the Bloc Québécois, Ms. Vignola will continue to be active on PSPC's file.

In an interview prior to the election, Ms. Vignola commented on the need for green renovations and the ability to offer affordable housing and quality accommodations for elderly who are losing cognitive and physical autonomy.

Other interests and interventions

To date, the member has risen most often in the House of Commons with respect to the transfer of civilian members of the RCMP to the Phoenix pay system.


In an April 3 article, Ms. Vignola said that a clothing manufacturer in her riding would be applying to make masks. footnote2

The member has been active in sharing information about the COVID-19 crisis, including government measures and mental health, on her Facebook page.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Ms. Vignola questioned the minister and officials on the decision to use Amazon Canada for the distribution of supplies; the situation with respect to the plane leaving China without its cargo; the management of the national emergency stockpile; and whether Canada's dependency on international supplies.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 30, 2020

Ms. Vignola questioned PSPC officials regarding the assistance small and medium enterprises (SMEs) would receive from PSPC if they were awarded a contract with the GC.

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of May 8, 2020

Ms. Vignola asked about the costs of material provided to public servants in order to telework and what will be done of it once they return in the offices. She further asked about shared workspaces and their popularity, and whether these measures would be expanded in the future.

Ms. Vignola also asked what would be done with the numerous government buildings if teleworking was to become the norm and all those spaces were no longer needed.

Committee members from the New Democratic Party

Matthew Green: New Democratic Party member of Parliament for Hamilton Centre

Matthew Green
Interest in Public Services and Procurement Canada portfolio

As a city councilor, Mr. Green had an interest in affordable housing for Hamilton. He may be interested in PSPC's support for the federal lands initiative.

He has risen in the House regarding climate change and global warming and green economy. Therefore he may be interested in green procurement strategies and PSPC's contribution to climate change.

Other interests and interventions

The member has risen in the House of Commons most often regarding climate change, Indigenous Peoples, racial equality and the public service.


Mr. Green has been active on social media calling for better protections for renters, students, Indigenous communities, and vulnerable populations.

As of April 18, Hamilton is reported to have 24 hospital workers infected with COVID-19. The Hamilton General Hospital and the St. Peter's Hospital are both located in Mr. Green's riding. footnote3

Interventions at the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates meeting of April 24, 2020

Mr. Green questioned the minister and officials on the disposal of surplus material in the national emergency stockpile; the possibility of providing pay increases for federally employed cleaners; investing in startups to produce testing supplies; the partnership between the government and Amazon Canada and how we can ensure that Canada's suppliers are maintaining public health safety.

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