Ontario supports development of province-made N95 respirators

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At a July 14 conference, the Ontario government announced that it is providing Cambridge-based Eclipse Innovations Inc. with $1,408,475 from the Ontario Together Fund for operations to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 masks.

These masks will be used to protect workers in healthcare and industrial settings and are an essential piece of personal protective equipment (PPE).

This investment is part of the Ontario government’s plan to increase the capacity of province-made PPE as well as supporting local businesses during the reopening of the economy. 

Today’s (July 14) announcement was made at the company’s facility by Premier Doug Ford and Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.

“As part of our government’s made-in-Ontario plan for renewal, growth, and recovery, we are actively working with local companies to manufacture the critical PPE we need to protect our frontline workers today and well into the future,” said Premier Ford.

“We have the most talented and innovative people anywhere to make the highest quality products in the world. Ontario is the manufacturing powerhouse of Canada and we encourage everyone to buy local to help our businesses and factories get back on their feet.”

Today also marked the beginning of the Premier’s tour to acknowledge businesses and individuals across Ontario who have helped out during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Premier Ford will visit a number of communities over the coming months and will recognize those who have gone above and beyond.

He will also hear ideas from people on how the government can help them succeed in the new environment as well as support made-in-Ontario products in the province’s path to recovery.

“As our government continues to move forward with the gradual and safe reopening of our economy, we have been working closely with our business community to mobilize Ontario’s manufacturing and innovation might,” said Minister Fedeli.

“Businesses like Eclipse Innovations have stepped up with solutions to help at a critical time. Together with our entrepreneurs and innovators, we will ensure Ontario has the factories, plants, and assembly lines to respond to any future crisis, should the need ever arise.”

Eclipse Innovations will create the capacity to manufacture made-in-Ontario N95 respirators, with Ontario’s support and will enable it to bring a qualified N95 respirator to the market.

N95 respirators filter 95 per cent of airborne particles, making it highly effective in protecting the wearer from airborne pathogens.

This includes viruses and bacteria that can damage the respiratory tract.

Eclipse Innovations will be able to make one million N95 respirators per week, by adding this new capacity, which will help serve domestic market demand as well as ensuring a safe reopening of the economy while combatting COVID-19.

Established in April 2020, Eclipse Innovations Inc. is a Cambridge-based company and an affiliate of Eclipse Automation Inc., a leading manufacturer of custom automated equipment for the life sciences, energy, transportation, consumer, industrial and electronics industries.

Eclipse Automation has 450 Ontario-based employees and this project will include the creation of 17 new permanent full-time jobs at its affiliate company, Eclipse Innovations.

Eclipse quickly pivoted its business and collaborated with global players IREMA and Harmontronics when the outbreak began, to create a solution to design, produce and distribute N95 respirators for the domestic market.

This investment will also allow Eclipse to develop a range of different mask sizes and styles, including horizontal and vertical fold and providing multiple options for an optimal fit.

This is crucial because the respirator must fit the face properly in order to work effectively.

Eclipse also has a partnership with Conestoga College for the development of a N95 predictive fit testing software using facial scanning technology.

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