n96 mask

Doug Ford says Ontario is making N96 masks which will be better than N95

So Trump doesn't want 3M selling any more N95 particular respirator masks to Canada? So what? We're getting an even cooler mask, according to Ontario Premier Doug Ford: The N96

Ford announced the mysterious innovation during his daily COVID-19 pandemic press conference at Queen's Park on Friday in response to a question about U.S. President Donald Trump's order to 3M that all mask exports to Canada be halted.

3M pushed back against the president's widely-criticized order, stating that such a move would carry with it "significant humanitarian implications."

It remains to be seen what the medical device manufacturer will do, but Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned earlier today that it would be "a mistake" for the U.S. to block orders of masks to Canada under such dire circumstances, and 3M seems to agree.

Either way, if what Ford says is true, Canada won't need to rely on the U.S. or any other country for PPE much longer.

"We have a couple million masks on order with 3M. I'm going to be calling the president after this to ask where we stand on those orders," stated Ford on Friday.

"We've also had a good conversation with the folks over at Woodbridge and they're producing something better than an N95 — it's called an N96 and it's going through the approval stage."

Ford stated that his government and Health Canada are both expediting this product through approvals with the appropriate agencies, and that once everything is up and running, "we're going to be pumping these out by the millions."

The Woodbridge Group is a Mississauga-based "global systems solution provider" that, previous to the COVID-19 outbreak, specialized in automotive supplies but has now shifted production to Personal Protective Equipment in collaboration with the province.

Neither Ford nor the company has revealed any details about what an N96 mask might look like or how it will be better than the N95, but being N95 masks are named for filtering out 95 per cent of airborne particles, one might assume than an N96 would filter out 96 per cent.

Premier Ford is confident in Ontario's talent pool and its ability to start pumping out these new masks, whatever they're like, within weeks.

"The technology and engineering skills that we have, the engineering might that this province has… I'll put it up against anyone anywhere in the world," he said on Friday.

"We'll never be in this position [again], no matter if its ventilators or N95s or gowns, face shields… over the next week or so, once we get all these approvals, we're ramping up."

Until then, the province is encouraging everyone to be conservative with their PPE supplies. Ford says that, while "we do have enough supplies to keep up us going,"he will "feel a lot more comfortable when we can produce them right here in Ontario."

Lead photo by

Michael Swan

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