The province says it is doling out more than $1 million to an Ontario manufacturing company that is expected to ramp up production to make as many as one million N95 masks per week.

Speaking at a news conference at Eclipse Innovations Inc. in Cambridge on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said the provincial government is providing the company with $1.4 million from the Ontario Together Fund to help Eclipse increase operations to manufacture millions of Ontario-made N95 respirators.

“Thanks to the incredible businesses like this one, Ontario will never ever again be left at the mercy of other countries and other leaders when it comes to vital PPE and medical equipment,” Ford said.

“We can make anything here in Ontario, we have the people, the expertise, the manufacturing might to build anything right here on our soil.”

At the beginning of the pandemic, Ontario and other provinces struggled to obtain critical personal protective equipment for frontline health care workers as countries around the world scrambled to get their hands on N95 masks, surgical gowns, gloves, and other medical equipment.

“N95 respirators filter 95 per cent of airborne particles, making it highly effective. By adding this new capacity, Eclipse will quickly produce these vital respirators and help ensure the safe reopening of our province,” Economic Development Minister Fedeli said on Tuesday.

Fedeli noted that the financial support from the province will help to create 17 new permanent full-time jobs at affiliate company Eclipse Innovations.

The company also has a partnership with Conestoga College for the development of an N95 predictive fit testing software utilizing facial scanning technology, Fedeli said.

“What stands out about this project is Eclipse's quick response to pave the way for domestically-produced N95 respirators,” he said.

“As COVID-19 hit, Eclipse forged global partnerships to use their existing design to bring certified domestically-produced N95 respirators to the market.”

Ford’s funding announcement comes on the first day of his summer tour where he plans to visit 38 ridings over the next eight weeks.

“Over the coming months, Premier Ford will visit a number of communities to recognize those who have gone above and beyond, hear ideas from the people on how the government can help them succeed in the new environment, and support made-in-Ontario products as a key part of the province's path to recovery,” the premier’s office said in a news release issued on Tuesday.

Ford plans to visit Essex County on Thursday and Waterloo Region on Friday.