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CTF: Federal government trashed millions worth of PPE before COVID struck

  • In September of 2019, PHAC threw out an estimated two million N95 masks in Regina

  • Costs to purchase N95 masks skyrocketed only months later as pandemic spread

OTTAWA, ON: The federal government threw millions of dollars worth of personal protective equipment in the garbage months before COVID-19 arrived in Canada, according to exclusive records obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“One of the core duties of government is emergency preparedness – and not only did the federal government fail to prepare, they wasted more than a million dollars of equipment in the process,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Federal Director.

The disposal took place in September of 2019, during the closure of one of the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Emergency Supply Stockpile warehouses located in Regina, SK.

An estimated two million N95 masks and other assorted personal protective equipment were sent to the local dump. The original cost to purchase the PPE was $1,194,474, according to the records.

Out of the landfilled PPE, $888,150 was made up of medium to large N95 masks, which skyrocketed in price during COVID-19. Face shields, surgical masks and other emergency medical supplies were also thrown away.

The federal government’s purchases of new masks to combat COVID-19 were more expensive than the original masks that were landfilled, with one potential order from American company 3M expected to cost Canadian taxpayers $1.21 per mask.

In comparison, the two million masks thrown out in Regina only cost 44 cents per mask.

“This is incompetence, plain and simple,” said Terrazzano. “The federal government’s failure to prepare means taxpayers would up paying nearly triple the price for masks.”

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