In response to the crisis, the federal government quickly ordered more than 40,000 fans worth C $ 1.1 billion, the vast majority from Canadian manufacturers who started building life-saving vehicles from scratch.
At the time, it was a success story of Canadian invention and entrepreneurial spirit. By May 2021, more than 27,000 fans had been delivered. But the worst pandemic scenario ever took place and most of the cars were never needed.
According to data provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the federal government received 27,687 fans out of 40,000 ordered. Only 2048 of them were deployed, including several hundred donated to developing countries.
A total of 25,964 fans are present in the National Strategic Emergency Stock, a reserve of medical and emergency equipment that provinces and territories may require when they run out.
Public Services & Procurement Canada is working with suppliers to reduce the volume ordered. The department will not say how much of the $ 1.1 billion paid to suppliers, or whether the government will save part of that amount by canceling orders.
“The Government of Canada is working with Canadian suppliers to identify and support potential reduction volumes as these contracts expire,” the spokesman said in a statement. “As negotiations are ongoing, we will not be able to disclose additional details about the payments at this time.
Infection control epidemiologist Colin Fernes said the excessive number of fans was a “pleasant problem” amid the nightmarish scenarios doctors face in New York and Italy at the start of the pandemic.
“In these circumstances, ordering a large number of fans was, I think, a very understandable decision,” he said. “With that, I sleep a little better at night.”
But he also raised questions about how much maintenance cars in stock will need to keep them in good working order.
The government website lists 15 suppliers with whom the government has signed contracts for fans, but the largest are five Canadian suppliers: CAE Inc., Canadian Emergency Ventilators Inc. (Led by StarFish Medical), EPM Global Services Inc., Thornhill Medical and FTI. Professional Grade Inc., a consortium of companies merged at the initiative of auto parts maker Rick Jameson.
The FTI Professional Grade came to the fore in late 2020 due to the involvement of former Liberal MP, Frank Baileys. The consortium hired Baylis Medical as a subcontractor to help manufacture the cars, but Jamieson and Baileys argued that his political career had nothing to do with participating in the project.
The FTI has been awarded a C $ 237 million contract for 10,000 fans, which the consortium says will be fully delivered by the end of 2020. PHAC says 9,056 of these fans are now in ambulance stock. A total of 403 vehicles were distributed across the country, while 539 were delivered to India, Nepal and Pakistan. Two units were returned to the supplier.
Canada has a huge surplus of shiny fans
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