Canadian province to gift 3,000 ventilators to India
While the Canadian government is in the process of identifying equipment from its emergency stockpile that can quickly be dispatched to India to assist in battling the Covid-19 crisis, the province of Ontario is gifting a consignment of ventilators worth ₹144 crore.
“Ontario will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our friends,” provincial premier Doug Ford said in a tweet announcing that it will send 3,000 Ontario-made medical ventilators, worth 8,000 Canadian dollars each, and totalling approximately ₹144 crore. The ventilators are manufactured by the company O-Two Medical Technologies Inc., which is headquartered in Brampton, in the Greater Toronto Area or GTA.
“This is an extraordinary act of generosity and we are very thankful to Ontario,” India’s High Commissioner to Ottawa Ajay Bisaria told the Hindustan Times. Bisaria described this as a “reciprocal gesture” as there’s “deep gratitude in Ontario” over the 500,000 AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines sent by India in March when the province faced a supply crunch.
Meanwhile, the consignment of medical equipment from the Federal Government, in addition to its donation of 10 million Canadian dollars to the Canadian Red Cross, is also imminent as it finalises identification of the material that can the sent from its emergency stockpile including ventilators, oxygen concentrators and generators.
“Canada’s contribution will support the procurement of essential supplies and medicines, including oxygen cylinders for clinics and ambulances. The Government of Canada continues to work closely with Indian officials to explore all options to respond to identified needs on the ground,” Patricia Skinner, a spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said, in response to an emailed query.
The overall relief effort is being conducted through the Canadian Red Cross, which has also launched its India Covid-19 Response Appeal and is coordinating with the Indian Red Cross Society.
Meanwhile, major Canadian corporates are also joining in with assistance. Toronto-headquartered Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited has also committed about ₹37 crore to the relief effort. Its first proposed initiative is working with the Karnataka Government with “to rapidly create emergency hospital facilities using the expertise of Dexterra Group, a Fairfax investee company in Canada,” it said in a statement.
Prem Watsa, the Indian-origin chairman and chief executive officer of Fairfax, commented, “We are saddened by the current crisis in India resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic. Fairfax wishes to assist India in traversing this incredibly difficult time and is hopeful that our commitment will provide some relief to India and its healthcare system.”
Other companies like telecommunications major Rogers and the financial services group SunLife have donated 100,000 Canadian dollars or about ₹60 lakh each to the Canadian Red Cross.