First shipment of N-95s set to leave Brockville 3M plant

A 3M mask which health care workers are in dire need of is shown in Mississauga, Ont., on Friday, April 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The first N-95 respirator masks have started shipping out from 3M's Brockville plant. 

Roughly 700,000 masks will be sent to healthcare workers, education workers, and other public sector institituions this week. This influx of personal protective equipment (PPE) comes as cases and hospitalizations continue to rise across much of the province.

Eight months ago, the provincial and federal governments came to a 5 year agreement with 3M to produce 55 million total respirators every year for frontline workers in Ontario and nationwide. That deal involved $23.33 million dollars of funding from the province and federal government to bolster 3M's own investment.

Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation, and Trade Vic Fedeli described the first shipment as "a major milestone" as the province works to make PPE more readily available. Similarly, François-Philippe Champagne, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry, says providing healthcare workers with the necessary supplies is "critical".

To ramp up toward the production of N-95s, Brockville's 3M facility has created 30 new jobs.