Partnerships: Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates—June 9, 2020

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Amazon, Purolator and Canada Post

Key messages

If pressed on the rationale for Amazon:

If pressed on Public Health Agency of Canada’s role, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) will maintain oversight of all orders from provinces and territories to ensure supplies are distributed appropriately.

If pressed on Amazon’s role:

If pressed on Canada Post and Purolator’s role, Canada Post is currently handling warehousing through its subcontractor Maritime Ontario, as well as other facilities, with Purolator assisting in getting the supplies to the warehouses from airports. Canada Post and Purolator, through their distribution networks, are delivering the supplies across Canada.

If pressed on letter of interest (LOI) / request for information (RFI) for extended logistics services in Canada:

If pressed the health and safety of workers, we fully expect Amazon to follow the guidelines put forward by Canada’s public health organizations and protect their workers during this crisis.


On April 1, 2020, PSPC, on behalf of PHAC, signed a $5 million contract with Amazon to efficiently get health care professionals the PPE and supplies they need to protect themselves and continue caring for Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. PHAC will maintain oversight of all orders from provinces and territories to ensure supplies are distributed appropriately.

The delivery of PPE and supplies ordered is being done by Purolator and Canada Post. PPE and supplies were initially warehoused at the facility of Maritime Ontario in Brampton, where the technology of Amazon has been installed for the orders of provincial and territorial health authorities. Maritime Ontario is an on-going key sub-contractor of Canada Post. As Maritime Ontario has started running out of space to warehouse the PPE ordered for the PHAC, other facilities have also started being used.

Amazon is offering their assistance to Canada for no profit until June 30th, 2020. Fees beyond June 30, 2020, will be less than Amazon’s standard commercial fees. The bulk of the $5 million announced is to pay Purolator or Canada Post for transportation charges.


Canadian Embassy in China

With the global market being challenged by the overwhelming need for medical supplies, PSPC has been working closely with Global Affairs Canada (GAC) in Ottawa, the Canadian Embassy in Beijing and the Canadian consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. This collaboration is intended to help navigate and expedite the rapidly changing environment in China when it comes to the supply of PPE such as masks, gowns, swabs, test kits, and other products needed in Canada in support of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To support these efforts, PSPC has engaged a third-party logistics provider and various experts to help officials navigate what had suddenly become the world's most competitive industry. They are assisting Canada to identify sources of supply that will meet Canadian standards, secure the supply chain and to help through the export process.

Through daily teleconferences, we are taking stock of the status of planned shipments to assist with flights from Shanghai to Canada, identify issues and find solutions or mitigations. This provides 24/7 coverage.

Logistics services

At the end of March, PSPC entered into a contract with Bolloré Logistics Canada Inc. using established emergency contracting authorities to provide urgent logistics and transportation services related to the procurement of PPE and medical supplies from China.

Bolloré Logistics Canada Inc. is on a standing offer with the Government of Canada for freight and cargo services and was selected due to its previous experience providing logistics services to Canada and its significant footprint in China. The decision was based on minimizing risks and on the urgency of the requirement.

We have also recently issued a competitive request for proposal to add a second third-party logistics provider. We are currently in negotiations with the selected company to finalize the contract.

Flights: Key statistics related to personal protective equipment

On April 19, one of our chartered cargo flights returned from China to Canada without its intended shipment of federally purchased PPE on board. This occurred because the cargo could not be cleared through the handling protocols in time to be loaded. As a result, the intended cargo was not loaded on the plane before its required takeoff time.

Air Canada took quick action to load standby shipments belonging to other customers, bringing much needed goods back to Canada. Air Canada has credited the Government of Canada with the costs they recovered as a result of that transport flight.

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