Ottawa spent $120 million on cargo flights to ship PPE from China in 2020: document

The Canadian government has spent $120 million chartering cargo flights to ship personal protective equipment (PPE) from China in the first 90 days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Documents obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter through an Access to Information request show that federal agencies had to charter planes because they were unable to maintain national stockpiles of masks, gloves, and medical gowns.

A June 10, 2020 staff memo from the Department of Public Works details millions of dollars spent on freight charges to fly urgent shipments of PPE from Chinese suppliers. The deal included $15 million each for Air Canada, WestJet, First Air and PAL Aerospace, and his $60 million for CargoJet in Hamilton, Ontario.

In an email dated April 1, 2020, a staff member of the Prime Minister’s Office stated, “The cost of a single freighter flight from China to Canada is between $600,000 and $800,000.

Much more was spent arranging the delivery and shipment of medical devices, including $30 million paid to Bolloré Logistics and $9.6 million paid to Deloitte Inc.

improper management

A few months ago in February, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it had donated 16 tons of PPE to China, where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported. That decision came after the World Health Organization declared the disease to be considered a “public health emergency of international concern” and urged countries to step up their preparedness.

PPE deliveries from China also faced a lot of disruption at the time, resulting in several cargo flights that Canada deployed to collect medical supplies and return them to the sky.

“There’s certainly a risk,” Public Works Deputy Minister Bill Matthews told a parliamentary committee when asked about the shortage of medical supplies from China and the impact on Canada’s supply chain.

“We talked about how things have evolved on the ground in China since this started. We had to take steps to make it available effectively.” Committee May 15, 2020.

“If we were in normal circumstances, we would have basically expected the supplier to ship the goods to Canada, but given the environment and the competition for the goods on the global stage, that would be excessive. It turned out to be a dangerous undertaking. We made adjustments on the ground in China to properly secure the product.”

The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has admitted to mismanagement of the national stockpile of pandemic emergency supplies, but so far the pandemic has continued despite repeated warnings to maintain supplies for at least six months. does not explain why it ran out when it occurred. According to Blacklock’s Reporter, of PPE.

“In many respects, NESS [emergency stockpile system] PHAC auditors wrote in their 2011 report “Evaluation of the National Emergency Stockpile System”.

“No one is willing to withdraw from the policy because it means that an undesirable event will occur and many people will be affected,” the report said. “But these kinds of events will continue to happen and Canada must be prepared. We need a federally controlled stockpile of public health supplies.”

The NESS report stems from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that killed 428 Canadians and hospitalized 8,678.

In a separate 2006 plan, PHAC said future pandemics were “inevitable” and Canada needed to prepare.

“The next pandemic will first occur outside of Canada.” reportentitled Canada’s Pandemic Influenza Plan for the Health Sector.

“The new virus is transmitted efficiently from person to person, resulting in a large number of people being infected.”

Andrew Chen


Andrew Chen is a reporter for the Epoch Times based in Toronto.