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Canada has a massive surplus of unused ventilators

In response to the disaster, the federal authorities shortly ordered simply over 40,000 ventilators at a value of C$1.1 billion, the overwhelming majority from Canadian producers that began constructing the life-saving machines from scratch.

At the time, it was billed as a success story for Canadian ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. By May 2021, greater than 27,000 ventilators had been delivered. But the worst-case pandemic eventualities by no means got here to move, and most of the machines have been by no means wanted.

According to figures supplied by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the federal authorities has obtained 27,687 ventilators of the 40,000 it ordered. Of these, solely 2,048 have been deployed, together with a number of hundred which were donated to growing nations.

A complete of 25,964 ventilators are within the nationwide emergency strategic stockpile, a reserve of medical and emergency gear that provinces and territories can request after they run out.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is working with suppliers to cut back the volumes ordered. The division gained’t say how a lot of the C$1.1 billion has been paid to suppliers, or if the federal government will avoid wasting of that cash by canceling orders.

“The Government of Canada is working with Canadian suppliers to identify opportunities to reduce the volumes ordered and support them as these contracts wind down,” a spokesperson mentioned in a assertion. “As negotiations are presently underway, we cannot disclose further details related to payment at this time.”

Infection management epidemiologist Colin Furness mentioned the surplus of ventilators is a “nice problem to have,” in mild of the nightmare eventualities medical doctors in New York and Italy have been going through early within the pandemic.

“Under those conditions, ordering a large number of ventilators I think was a very understandable decision,” he mentioned. “Having those makes me sleep a little better at night.”

But he additionally raised questions on how a lot upkeep the machines within the stockpile would require to maintain them in good working order.

A authorities web site lists 15 suppliers with whom the federal government signed contracts for ventilators, however the largest are with 5 Canadian suppliers: CAE Inc., Canadian Emergency Ventilators Inc. (led by StarFish Medical), EPM Global Services Inc., Thornhill Medical and FTI Professional Grade Inc., a consortium of firms that got here collectively on the initiative of Rick Jamieson, an auto-parts producer.

FTI Professional Grade got here beneath scrutiny in late 2020 for the involvement of a former Liberal MP, Frank Baylis. The consortium employed Baylis Medical as a subcontractor to assist manufacture the machines, however Jamieson and Baylis insisted his political profession had nothing to do along with his participation within the mission.

FTI was awarded a C$237 million contract for 10,000 ventilators, which the consortium says have been absolutely delivered by the top of 2020. PHAC says 9,056 of these ventilators at the moment are within the emergency stockpile. A complete of 403 machines have been distributed throughout the nation, whereas 539 have been donated to India, Nepal and Pakistan. Two models have been returned to the provider.

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