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Ontario invests $5M in mask and respirator production


The Ontario government is investing more than $5 million to help three companies design and produce respirators and surgical masks for frontline and healthcare workers.

The funding is being delivered through the province’s $50-million Ontario Together program, which was developed to help manufacturers retool to provide equipment and supplies needed to fight COVID-19.

More than $1.8 million will go to Kitchener-based O2 Canada to design double-filtered, soft-sealed and reusable respirators that will help healthcare and frontline workers fight COVID-19 by filtering particulates, bacteria and viruses.

The project will create 50 new jobs at O2 Canada and 25 at Barrie-based Jomi Technical Services, which partnered with O2 to manufacture the respirator.

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Ontario is also investing $1,475,000 in Concord-based RONCO to help the company establish the production capacity to manufacture surgical masks and respirators at its Ontario plant, replacing production that is currently happening in China.

The company will establish three surgical mask production lines to make more than three million masks monthly and will add one N95 respirator production line to make up to 260,000 respirators monthly.

“RONCO always had plans to bring PPE manufacturing back to Canada,” says Ron Pecchioli, president and CEO of RONCO, in a statement. “The Ontario Together funding program has helped accelerate our plans.”

Ontario is also investing $2 million in Kitchener-Waterloo-based Swenco Ltd. to help the company establish a new production facility to make ASTM level 1, 2 and 3 surgical masks. It anticipates creating 24 new jobs with the project.