Leading universities to carry out research and testing to better protect frontline workers
TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than $2.3 million to McMaster University and the University of Toronto through the Ontario Together Fund to carry out research, development and testing of the next generation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). These projects will help improve the technology and better protect frontline workers.
“From the earliest days of the pandemic, Ontario’s innovation and manufacturing might was unleashed to develop and produce the PPE, the ventilators and the other essential equipment we would need to face the challenge of COVID-19,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “With this investment into research and testing at two of our leading universities, we are reinforcing our province’s reputation as the gold standard for medical equipment across Canada and around the world.”
Ontario is investing $1,122,000 in the University of Toronto to support its Dalla Lana School of Public Health’s testing facility as it ramps up filtration efficiency testing of N95, surgical and procedure masks to ensure that they meet Health Canada Personal Protective Equipment requirements. The project will increase U of T’s capability to assist with the rapid development and validation of new masks and decontamination technologies, while providing evidence for decision making on issues related to mask performance, decontamination and reuse.
“U of T is proud to provide mask testing facilities and technologies that give hospitals and other health-care institutions rapid information and protect Ontario’s frontline workers,” says James Scott, Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Occupational and Environmental Health Division. “This funding allows us to scale up our work with the province’s manufacturers and innovators inside and outside U of T and help our health-care system meet critical challenges this winter.”
The province is also investing $1,212,000 in McMaster University to accelerate the work at its newly created Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment and Materials (CEPEM) to work with Canadian manufacturers with their R&D needs in designing, manufacturing and testing of PPE. The investment will support the centre’s collaboration with its industry partners in developing and optimizing their products, getting them to market faster, and thereby protecting the community and frontline workers. The centre’s new testing and manufacturing facility will also help generate new technology that will increase the competitive edge of made-in-Ontario PPE over products from other jurisdictions. The centre is part of the university’s Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats, an international network of scientists, clinical health and medical specialists, engineers, social sci entists, and other experts working collaboratively to prevent future pandemics and mitigate global health threats.
“It’s these kinds of partnerships supported by the Centre of Excellence within the Global Nexus for Pandemics and Biological Threats that set McMaster apart,” says Karen Mossman, McMaster’s Vice-President, Research. “Our faculty members have earned the trust of industry, and the CEPEM team led by Ravi Selvaganapathy exemplify that. Our partners have confidence in our work and recognize our evidence-based results give them a competitive advantage.”
“Ontario’s colleges and universities have been critical actors in providing PPE to our province’s frontline workers throughout the global pandemic and will be essential in helping Ontario thrive and recover coming out of the pandemic,” said Ross Romano, Minster of Colleges and Universities. “That’s why our government is proud to invest in our postsecondary institutions and support their initiatives in researching cutting-edge technologies in the healthcare sector, helping Canadian manufacturers meet PPE demands, and developing the next generation of PPE that places Ontario at the forefront of PPE supply and development in Canada.”
“Our acclaimed researchers at McMaster University and the University of Toronto are collaborating on a project that will provide further protection to our dedicated frontline workers,” said Donna Skelly, MPP for Flamborough-Glanbrook. “This partnership is more evidence of how people in Ontario are working together in our fight against the spread of COVID-19.”
Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province’s stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and PPE. This new manufacturing and research capacity will help the province to combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.
The Government of Ontario declared its second provincial emergency and issued a stay-at-home-order in response to COVID-19 on January 12, 2021.
The Ontario government has opened applications for the new Ontario Small Business Support Grant. The grant, first announced in December, provides a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to eligible small businesses who have had to restrict their operations due to the Provincewide Shutdown.
The government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses retool their operations to produce PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services for businesses to reopen safely.
Businesses and individuals looking to help in the fight against COVID-19 can submit their proposals through the Ontario Together web portal.
Since launching last July, the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters’ Ontario Made program has been helping the province’s manufacturing base regain and recover revenues lost due to COVID-19 by encouraging manufacturers and producers to register and promote their products on the ‘Ontario Made’ website and use the Ontario Made logo.
The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory provides businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers.