Canadian auto suppliers can now tap into a $50-million fund if they choose to retool to produce medical equipment desperately needed to fight the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, will invest the money to support any Canadian manufacturer as they prepare to produce critically needed supplies, such as test kits, gloves, gowns, masks and ventilators.
NGen leads Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, and manages $230 million in funding from the federal government.
Projects will be selected for funding based on critical needs identified by the government and the ability of manufacturers to produce products that are safe for both patients and health-care workers. NGen will fund projects that can have an immediate impact in the next 4-12 weeks.
“NGen recognizes that the rapid launch of safe medical products is no easy task. It will require expeditious product validation, secure supply of materials and components, regulatory approvals, and the scale-up of new manufacturing systems before full-scale production can be brought on line,” NGen said in a statement. “It will take a highly synchronized approach, requiring the active collaboration of manufacturers, as well as engineering and healthcare specialists, standards bodies, government regulators, and procurement officials.”
Automotive Parts Manufacturers' Association President Flavio Volpe, who was among the first to encourage suppliers to join the fight against the pandemic said "everything helps." He's also calling on automakers and suppliers to donate one million masks to front-line workers.
NGen is also encouraging experts to share their capabilities with the organization.