Ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic, supplies of vital personal protective gear in the federally managed emergency stockpile were a fraction of what was required, according to new information obtained by The Globe and Mail.
In addition, Public Health Agency of Canada officials tell The Globe that the federal stockpile was not funded or mandated to amass significant levels of supplies, such as N95 respirator masks.
The federal agency did not have a target for the levels of personal protective gear it should maintain in the stockpile, did not know what level of stockpiles the provinces and territories had and did not advise lower-level governments about how much should be stockpiled, the officials said. This, despite calls in the wake of the 2003 SARS outbreak for governments to stockpile personal protective equipment and secure supply chains.
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