Trudeau vows ‘no corners cut’ in accepting masks, other supplies from China

TORONTO — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Health Canada will ensure that all masks and medical equipment arriving from China will be properly evaluated, after reports that the Dutch government recalled over 600,000 faulty masks imported from the country.

Speaking to reporters outside of his home in Ottawa Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will be receiving additional medical supplies from China “in the coming days,” noting that Health Canada will evaluate the equipment.

“I can assure people that Health Canada has very strong procedures for evaluating that what we get is up to the necessary standards and that there will be no corners cut on this,” Trudeau said.

“We need to make sure that the equipment that our health care workers rely on to keep them safe as they keep us safe is of a quality that makes sure they can do the job.”

His remarks come after reports that Dutch officials recalled more than half a million face masks imported from China after discovering they were faulty.

Holland’s health minister said it asked hospitals to return the masks that frontline workers were using to treat patients suffering from COVID-19.

Dutch broadcaster NOS reported that the faulty masks failed to meet safety requirements because they were not properly fitted, putting health-care workers at risk of contracting the virus.

On Saturday, the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said the country had sent 30,000 medical masks, 10,000 sets of protective clothing, 10,000 goggles and 50,000 pairs of gloves to Canada on Friday.

The embassy also said that shipment would be followed by another one containing the much sought-after N95 masks.

Because China is the largest supplier of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in the world, the global supply took a big hit when the country had to shut down its factories earlier this year when the outbreak began.

When asked whether Canada’s strained relationship with China has played a role in the response to COVID-19, Trudeau said leaders need to set aside their differences in the face of the pandemic. s

“We’re going to continue to engage with the world collaboratively through this difficult time,” he said. “It is a global pandemic and countries need to set aside their differences and work together to get through this.”​