• Canada ordered 1 million respirators from China to help fight coronavirus
  • It turns out that the respirators did not meet the federal standards
  • The government did not distribute the non-compliant masks to provinces

A spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada, Eric Morrissette, said that the KN95 respirators that the country bought from China did not meet the federal standards. As a consequence, the federal government did not distribute the non-compliant masks to provinces and territories that have been clamoring for additional personal protective equipment.

A Crucial Type Of Equipment

The failure of these China-made respirators to meet Canadian standards posed yet another problem for the country. Canada is among the many countries trying their best to obtain PPE and medical supplies in what is beginning to look like a fierce global competition of securing PPEs.

The KN95 is the Chinese version of the N95, a vital piece of personal protective equipment used by nurses, doctors, and other frontline health workers in the battle against COVID-19. While Canada has authorized the use of KN95 as part of its coronavirus pandemic response, individual shipments must still be inspected.

coronavirus respirators ordered by Canada from China were non-compliant
coronavirus respirators ordered by Canada from China were non-compliant NanaCola - Pixabay

The Search For Suppliers

According to a senior Canadian source, China supplies approximately 70% of Canada’s PPE imports. The source told Politico this week that the remaining 30% comes from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Shortages in PPE and medical supplies around the world have forced countries to look for new suppliers and manufacturers, according to Morrissette. He said that the Public Health Agency of Canada has been inspecting the quality of donated and purchased supplies to make sure they meet the country’s technical specifications for COVID-19.

Badly-Needed Medical Supplies

Morrissette also said that as of today, the Public Health Agency of Canada has marked around one million KN95 masks as non-compliant with specifications for the health-care environment. The Globe and Mail were the first news outfits to report on the number of rejected KN95 masks.

The effort of Canada to secure PPE and medical supplies from China has been mired with complications. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, revealed that two airplanes that the country sent to China to pick up badly needed medical supplies were forced to fly back to Canada, empty. According to Trudeau, there were transportation delays on the ground and stringent policies limiting the length of time planes can wait at the airport in Shanghai.