News Release
April 7, 2020

The City of Toronto discovered yesterday that a recently-purchased order of more than $200,000 worth of surgical masks do not meet the specifications the City requires for such masks and took immediate action, recalling these masks.

Four-thousand boxes containing 50 masks per box were received, and 1,252 boxes, or 62,600 masks, were distributed to the City’s long-term care homes on March 28.

The City’s occupational health safety staff have been contacted. The City is investigating to determine how many employees in the City’s long-term care homes were caring for a patient while wearing these masks, and if there was possible exposure to COVID-19.

After reports of ripping and tearing, further inspection of the masks determined that the masks ordered did not meet the City’s standard and specifications. The masks are being returned, and the vendor has committed to a full refund.

The City is retrieving its stockpile of surgical masks as a stop-gap measure until a new, appropriate grade mask, as specified, can be purchased, which will happen on a priority basis, as the loss of this inventory makes for a significant shortfall of surgical masks for the City. The Province of Ontario has been contacted to help expedite this order.

The City has also undertaken a quality control review of its supply chain, and all future orders of personal protective equipment will be subject to heightened verification to ensure the products it receives meet the specifications ordered.

The global supply chain of PPE is a known concern around the world and all efforts are being made, by all governments, to ensure the products shipped and received on an urgent basis meet established standards.

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