The Canadian Shield Approved for Ontario Made Program to Encourage Local PPE Production

Ontario Made / Fabrique En Ontario logo over top of the plastic sheeting used to make face shields at The Canadian Shield in Waterloo, Ontario.

The Canadian Shield is excited to announce that the company has been selected to be a member of the Ontario Made program. Developed by Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ontario Made program promotes locally manufactured goods and services in an effort to stimulate the local economy and propel the province’s growth and renewal. 

Unveiled in July 2020, the program acknowledges manufacturers across the province that have retooled their operations to provide frontline healthcare and essential workers with necessary equipment and supplies in the fight against COVID-19. This includes personal protective equipment, raw materials and consumer products, which were extremely hard to come by given the fractured nature of Canada’s global supply chains and rising trade tariffs. The program promotes locally made products to ensure our province is self-sufficient and resilient in the face of future global health crises.

Through increased brand awareness and consumer visibility, the program builds name recognition and familiarity for its members while also increasing product awareness and accessibility. An “Ontario Made” logo will be placed on products selected for the program, in addition to digital marketing campaigns and online resources for consumers, manufacturers and retailers. By expanding awareness of Ontario Made products on a consumer-focused website and retail stores, consumers can make informed buying decisions, while supporting their local economy. 

Rebuilding Ontario’s local manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of The Canadian Shield. Founded in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak by parent company InkSmith, an educational technology manufacturer, the company sought to use its existing manufacturing resources to address the international shortage of PPE for frontline healthcare workers. Through community engagement campaigns and an unrelenting work ethic, The Canadian Shield was able to donate thousands of medical face shields to hospitals and healthcare facilities across Ontario. 

Within a matter of months, the company successfully scaled from less than 10 employees to over 300, acquired new manufacturing equipment, relocated into a larger facility and increased its production capacity to 200,000 face shields per day. The Canadian Shield has secured relationships with local suppliers as part of its effort to rebuild the country’s domestic supply chains as it pertains to PPE production. The company is also committed to hiring locally and paying a living wage to its workers in an effort to reinvigorate Ontario’s manufacturing industry. 

The COVID-19 outbreak served as a major wake-up call for companies who had outsourced production overseas. The dislocation of global supply chains, coupled with unpredictable trade tariffs, has served as a stark reminder that companies must constantly assess and reassess their manufacturing, disruption and delivery strategies. It is no longer a question of “if” further disruptions will occur, but “when”. The Canadian Shield’s commitment to bolstering local supply chains will ensure that the country is in a position to succeed pending future trade disruptions. 

The Canadian Shield has recently expanded its product line to include children’s face shields, disposable face masks, and reusable face masks. These product expansions have further strengthened Canada’s capacity to respond to future health pandemics. 

With plans to become vertically integrated, The Canadian Shield is committed to working with local manufacturers and suppliers to facilitate a “Made in Canada” revolution.