The Department of Health, under the leadership of Health Minister Patty Hajdu, purchased $700 million worth of ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic to help Canadians suffering with respiratory disease.
However, Blacklock's Reporter has reported that only two percent of the ventilators have been used, with the rest either having never been delivered or been placed in a warehouse.
Of the 40,547 ventilators the Canadian government ordered, only 27,025 arrived. Approximately 500 of those ventilators were put to use for Canadians, while the remaining 26,000 deliveries were placed in warehouses.
"I mean, 40,000 ordered? I think we have enough for twenty-five years," said Conservative MP Pierre Paul-Hus. "Is there any possibility of cancelling the rest of the orders because they are not required right now? That's hundreds of millions of dollars."
Michael Mills, Associate Assistant Deputy Minister of Public Works, said that the government is "currently working with our suppliers to try and reduce the overall numbers," and that they "do not expect to take delivery of all 40,000."
Defending the decision to purchase the 40,000 ventilators in the first place, Mills said that "over the course of the crisis the needs have evolved as well as the clinical practice... It's come to light that we do need less."
One of the firms contracted for the ventilators, Baylis Medical Company, is owned by former Liberal MP Frank Baylis. The firm received a $237 million contract for the ventilators, which Baylis insisted that the government must pay in advance.
The contract raised conflict of interest questions, with Baylis insisting that he "didn't speak to anybody to try and influence them to give a contract to Baylis Medical."
Two other firms, CAE Inc. and Thornhill Medical, received $282.5 million and $200.5 million contracts respectively to supply ventilators.
The ventilators produced by CAE Inc., however, failed Canadian regulatory tests twice. Senior vice president Helene Gagnon defended the ventilators as a "testament to Canadian innovation," noting that "CAE designed its ventilator from scratch."
The purchase of ventilators from Thornhill Medical also saw controversy, with the purchase being made despite the Department of Health "advising not to proceed with it as it does not meet technical requirements."
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