Trump’s decree stopped 3M from filling Ontario's mask order: Ford
Chris Herhalt, CP24.com
Published Saturday, April 4, 2020 2:41PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, April 4, 2020 7:50PM EDT
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says his efforts to secure new respirator masks for frontline healthcare workers are being stifled both inside and outside the country, blaming U.S. President Donald Trump and federal regulators who are holding up plans to produce them in the province.
Ford said that speaking with 3M Canada on Saturday; it appears the company cannot disobey orders from U.S. President Trump that end all exports of N95 respirator masks, including Ontario’s order for five million units.
“Our order hasn’t been fulfilled yet, Ford said. “They’re disagreeing with a presidential order but physically when you get a presidential order you can’t just ship the items out."
He added the federal government has told him they are working to lift export restrictions, but it has not worked yet.
The respirator masks are used to protect healthcare workers from exposure to pathogens like the novel coronavirus, with N95 masks able to protect against particles as small as 0.3 microns across.
Meanwhile, Ford said Health Canada regulators have so far failed to approve production for a similar mask the Woodbridge Group of Mississauga is planning to manufacture, dubbed the N96 respirator mask.
“I’ve heard it’s going to be a few days, and I’ve been hearing that for a few days and a few days have gone by – I am just all over this,” Ford said. “I don’t care if I need to call the deputy Prime Minister and the Prime Minister ten times a day – we need these items here, we need these approvals, like yesterday we need them.”
One of the few countries in the world still permitting mask exports is China, and earlier Saturday Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a plane carrying millions of masks was on its way, with a portion of the order destined for Quebec.
Ford said he hopes a proportionate share of any masks coming thanks to the federal government should be set aside for Ontario, where nurses and doctors from across the GTA have told CP24 their use of masks has been rationed beyond what they feel is safe.
“I hope to God they start dividing this up equally – because we’ve been working well together,” Ford said.
But he kept his harshest words for the Americans.
“We’re one big family, but they’ve cut out one part of the family now – It’s not right and absolutely I’d be all over government in the U.S. and show them how important our relationship is. Still, I am so disappointed in what they are doing right now.”