What has stopped the Canadian Shield from providing the PPE and rapid tests Canada needs?

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China, intermediaries and government bureaucracy.

After about six weeks of illness, I now feel “good enough” to record a podcast. As you can guess, my first episode with co-host Rob Kenedi is highly topical.

Unfortunately, it has remained relevant since… oh, 2020.

“I don’t know why we keep making the same mistakes.”
-Jeremy Hedges
The Canadian shield

In May 2020, we interviewed Canadian Shield founder Jeremy Hedges about his rapid transition from edtech to PPE production.

Canadian Shield was able to produce about 1 million face shields in its first month of production, and about 16 million from March to July 2020. And then they stopped. Why did they stop? What stopped them?

As you’ll hear in this podcast, according to Hedges, Canadian Shield has had huge supply issues that have prevented it from selling its product to hospitals, long-term care (LTC) facilities, and the average consumer. when he needed it.

These problems have also extended to the N95 masks and rapid tests that the Canadian Shield now sells, having gone mainly from manufacturer to market.

These issues are myriad and complex, and Hedges does a great job of breaking them down in this episode:

  • The fact that the supply is managed province by province.
  • That many provinces, such as Ontario, do not have a centralized procurement system.
  • Instead, they rely on third-party, group purchasing organizations, which effectively control up to 95% of the purchasing volume of hospitals and long-term care centers under contract agreements. a period of three to nine years.
  • These new centralized supply systems like Supply Ontario will take years to get up and running effectively, with hospitals still beholden to these long-term contracts.
  • That the United States effectively puts Canadian manufacturers in the back of the queue for crucial NIOSH certification, forcing CSA to quickly develop its own certification standards for in-house N95 marks.
  • That Canada’s reluctance to recognize certification of products from places like the EU and its inability to purchase products made in Canada are leading to inventory shortages and high price markups.

As someone who has been sick for two months, unable to get rapid tests for me, my family or my employees, who has seen the province I live in delay the reopening of schools in part because of the difficulty in obtaining masks N95 and rapid tests tests to school boards on time (and at an amount that would actually make a difference), you might understand if I sound a little frustrated.

And given our past conversations on this podcast about similar issues regarding vaccination reservations, you might understand this to be a familiar frustration.

Hedges says on this podcast that he doesn’t “know why we keep making the same mistakes.”

Honestly, I don’t know either. But I know we won’t stop making these mistakes until we collectively recognize and understand why they are happening in the first place.

Let’s dig.


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BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur.
Sponsored by Float.

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