Chinese suppliers will replace a million defective masks and thousands of contaminated swabs for coronavirus testing sold to Canada, federal government officials told a House of Commons committee on Friday. The replacements will be provided at no additional cost to the federal taxpayer.
Meanwhile, Canada is buying personal protective equipment and other gear from Chinese suppliers at such a pace that Ottawa expects it will soon be flying about one planeload a day out of Shanghai to Canada.
The flights alone costs between $600,000 and $800,000 each.
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Since the pandemic broke, Canada has received 10 planeloads of coronavirus-related protective material, mostly destined for use by front-line health-care workers across Canada.
But before supplies from China can be put to use in Canadian facilities, officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada must certify that the products meet Canadian standards.
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At least one million N95 masks sourced from a Chinese supplier and thousands of swabs used in coronavirus test kits, sourced from a separate Chinese supplier, failed to meet Canadian standards or were found to be contaminated.
Where N95 masks cost about $1.20 per unit before the crisis hit,