A road full of pitfalls for masks destined for the Outaouais

Significant quantities of protective medical equipment destined for the Outaouais region may have been found in China, Le Droit learned , but nothing has yet been decided .
C are items previously will run on China’s roads for more than 1000 kilometers of well avoiding obstacles before reaching a warehouse controlled by the Canadian government in Shanghai. From there, an air bridge negotiated between the two states would make it possible to transport the equipment to Canada.

Le Droit has called on several sources over the past few hours to find out a little more about how operations are carried out in the field. The information that has been possible to collect without hampering supply efforts opens a window that gives a look at the complexity of the matter.

The frantic race for the acquisition of medical protective equipment is a constant struggle that forces the different players to compete in strategies and resourcefulness. The situation is constantly evolving. Supplier prices vary from hour to hour. Governments are aware of the importance of acting quickly, but the international situation forces them to remain vigilant to avoid falling into scams. They are inundated with calls from business people of good will who believe they have contacts allowing them to participate in the war effort. The efforts required to ensure secure transport of goods involve unprecedented coordination on the ground.

Three Chinese suppliers

In the Outaouais region, a group of business people locally led by the vice-president of the Heafey Group, Charles Masse, works in close collaboration with the Fondation Santé Gatineau. Le Droit revealed on Saturday that this group has already, in the past few days, brought about 400 N95 masks to the Outaouais Integrated Health and Social Services Center. (CISSSO) and find 20,000 pairs of nitrile gloves. The group grew over the weekend. Two new players that we cannot currently name have joined the group by giving access to three suppliers deemed to be trustworthy located in China.

These suppliers, specifies Mr. Masse, hold masks, protective gowns, nitrile gloves and visors. They are located in Tin Jin, Guangzhou and Quigdao. The first contacts have been made. They are awaiting confirmation of a first order for the Outaouais. To formalize an order, however, the confirmation of the space available to accommodate the material in the warehouse of the federal government in Shanghai is missing, as well as the place in one of the cargo ships chartered by Canada.

Gatineau MP and Parliamentary Secretary to Public Services and Procurement Canada, Steven MacKinnon, confirms that the “Government of Canada, through the Public Health Agency, is working with all provinces and territories to ensure the logistics of ‘supply which is very complicated to obtain medical protective equipment’.

Waiting for Quebec

Neither the business people involved nor the CISSSO have the authority to request space in the federal warehouse or on the plane to transport the goods. This responsibility rests with the Government of Quebec. The Foundation confirms that it made an official request, Sunday, to the Minister of Health, Danielle McCann, so that it reserves the necessary space with the federal government. “We hope to have an answer quickly and that the federal government is notified,” said the president of the Foundation, Jean Pigeon. We must act quickly to demonstrate our seriousness to our suppliers who continue to receive requests from everywhere. We would like, with confirmation from Quebec, to be able to make a first emergency order within the next few hours.

Asked about this request from the CISSSO, a spokesperson for the Quebec Ministry of Health responded to the law that establishments no longer have to follow up with distributors for supplies at risk of shortages. “As mentioned by the Prime Minister, no details concerning orders and receipt will be provided, including the request from CISSSO.”

A 1000 km journey

Even if Quebec were to agree to reserve space for CISSSO orders with the federal government, the game would still be far from over. Once orders have been placed with suppliers, the equipment should travel, by road, over distances varying between 700 and 1,400 kilometers to reach Shanghai. The business is not without risk, say government sources.

Jean Pigeon specifies that part of the donations received by the Gatineau Health Foundation in the last days would be used to pay and secure the transportation of the goods to Shanghai. Governments thus avoid risking financial resources to transport equipment that does not come from their usual suppliers. “This is why each donation made to the Foundation is important,” insists Mr. Pigeon. We want to use it to establish a secure supply system. ”

Charles Masse says that he has great confidence in his partners in this business and in the reliability of their Chinese suppliers. He also adds that the CISSSO supply team is doing “colossal work all the time” in order to find solutions to supply the “guardian angels” who are on the front line in the Outaouais as best they can. .

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