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Feds keep lid on company names, dollar amounts in some COVID-19 contract

Last Updated Aug 3, 2020 at 2:54 pm EDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds a press conference as he visits the Public Health Agency of Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, July 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

OTTAWA — The federal Liberals have given companies more than $5.8 billion in COVID-19-related contracts for personal protective gear and medical supplies.

The latest figures provided by the government also show that about two-fifths of the total contracts awarded as of July 16 have gone to domestic suppliers, some of them having retooled operations to provide needed masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators.

But many details of the companies involved and the amounts of their contracts are being kept from public view.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the data on N95 respirator masks, where all but one of the suppliers have had their identities withheld.

The one identified, AMD Medicom Inc., which has a Montreal-area facility, did not have the value of its contract published.

Public Services and Procurement Canada has said it needs to keep details protected to protect Ottawa’s ability to obtain certain items that countries around the world are scrambling to purchase.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 3, 2020.

The Canadian Press