The fragmented nature of the supply chain in sourcing critical supplies during the pandemic has led to the creation of a new provincial agency.
Supply Ontario is the government's new centralized procurement agency for purchasing goods and services for schools, hospitals and the entire public sector.
"When people go shopping, they often buy in bulk to save money," said Premier Doug Ford in a statement this week. "We need to do the same thing in government, so we can deliver more value for taxpayer dollars and secure critical supplies for our frontline health care heroes and others in the public sector.
"This new approach will also be good for Ontario businesses as it will make it easier for them to sell their quality products and services to the government."
The idea was born from Queen's Park experiences in sourcing PPE and other critical supplies and equipment during the pandemic. The new supply chain agency is part of the Ontario govenrment's COVID-19 Action Plan. The procurement agency will source material for more than 6,000 entities across the Ontario public service.
The government frames the creation of this agency as an efficiency and cost saving endeavor for taxpayers that will further drive innovation of emerging technologies, and better connect entrepreneurs and small business to government.
"Supply Ontario will allow our government to buy as one and simplify our supply chain model," said Government and Consumer Services Minister Lisa Thompson in a statement.
"Our experience responding to the COVID-19 pandemic only validated the need for a modern, more efficient supply chain system. This made-in-Ontario solution will support greater domestic production, drive job creation and economic growth, and create opportunities for Ontario manufacturers and innovators to enter the playing field and bid for projects to supply our province."
The government said it recently secured a contract with PRIMED Medical Products, headquartered in Edmonton, to manufacture levels 1 and 2 surgical/protective masks in Ontario through a competitive procurement process. This fall, PRIMED will produce 50 million masks annually over the next five years for health care and essential service providers across the province.