Bombardier to help make 18,000 ventilators at shuttered Thunder Bay plant


THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Bombardier Inc. is helping to produce 18,000 ventilators for the Ontario government at its temporarily shuttered plant in Thunder Bay, Ont.

The plane-and-train maker says it will carry out sanding, painting and assembly work on the equipment for Brampton, Ont.-based O-Two Medical Technologies, which manufactures respiratory care products.

Bombardier says O-Two found its supply chain disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and started hunting for help to churn out portable ventilators amid a looming shortage in Canada.

Bombardier expects to start work on April 27, drawing on between 40 and 50 employees — most of whom had been temporarily laid off — over three to four months.

The Montreal-based company, which has furloughed 70 per cent of its Canadian workforce due to the pandemic, had suspended operations at the plant as non-essential work ground to a halt across the country.

The company says the employment at the factory, which counted 1,100 workers last summer, now hovers at around 420 after two of its major contracts — for Toronto Transit Commission streetcars and Metrolinx GO Transit rail cars — wound down over the last few months.

Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)