The federal government has confirmed it purchased 9.5 million KN95 respirators that failed to meet Government of Canada technical specifications.
Confirmation comes from the MP Steven MacKinnon, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of public services and procurement when responding to a question from MP Kelly McCauley during a session in the House of Commons.
Kelly McCauley, the representative from Edmonton West, asked how many N95 or KN95 masks “were ordered but deemed unacceptable by the Public Health Agency of Canada,” along with raising questions over the cost of the supplies.
“A total of 9.5 million KN95's did not meet technical specifications for healthcare settings,” MacKinnon replied to the question. In May, it was reported that a Montreal had ordered a large shipment of PPE, of which eight million Chinese-made masks were rejected for failing to meet standards.
While MacKinnon declined to reveal a dollar amount for the purchase, citing the negotiating position of the government as the reason this couldn't be disclosed, he did mention that nearly 40 per cent of PPE contracts included a “necessary” portion paid in advance "to ensure that Canada could secure access to supplies amidst intense international competition."
“[T]he Government of Canada has been engaged in an unprecedented effort to acquire supplies and equipment to ensure that our front-line health care workers, other essential services workers and Canadians stay safe and healthy,” MacKinnon said.
“Throughout this pandemic, there has been a surge in global demand for the personal protective equipment, PPE, and medical supplies needed in response to COVID-19. As a result, the government has operated in a highly competitive market and faced risks posed by fragile international supply chains.”