Over the past week, more than 1,100 offers of support have poured in from private and non-profit organizations through the Government of Alberta’s Bits and Pieces program.
The offers include passenger and commercial vehicles, hotel rooms and mobile trailers, food and water services, hospital gowns, face masks, ventilators and other personal protective equipment. They also highlight innovation in local manufacturing, with several Alberta distilleries offering sanitizer they produced and a drapery manufacturer offering medical garments and bedding it produced.
The program is named after the “bits and pieces program” established by Canada’s Minister of Munitions and Supply during the Second World War, C. D. Howe. The program coordinated innovative production and procurement efforts from across the Canadian economy to support the war effort.
“I’m deeply touched by the outpouring of support we’re seeing from private and non-profit organizations, both foreign and domestic. When times are tough, Alberta’s spirit of ingenuity and generosity always answers the call.”Jason Kenney, Premier
One example is ATCO, the Alberta-founded and based company that got its start providing trailers for the oilpatch and is now best known to Albertans as a provider of gas and electricity, which has offered to contribute up to several hundred trailers if needed. These could be used for COVID testing, treatment and quarantining, especially in rural and remote areas without adequate medical facilities.
In addition to many local companies offering and innovating to provide products, Alberta’s post-secondary institutions are leading in areas of research, with one researcher at the University of Alberta working to develop a virus-killing medical mask.
“Albertans are leaders, and I’m humbled to see our province leading and giving back in so many ways. The offers and innovation we’re seeing take place across our province right now will help our government meet the demands and challenges we face today, and the ones we’ll face in the future.”Kaycee Madu, Minister of Municipal Affairs
The Government of Alberta encourages individuals, private companies and non-profit organizations who can offer products and services, including personal protective equipment, to visit the offers webpage at alberta.ca/covid19.
Examples of Alberta companies filling the need
- ATCO has confirmed their ability to deploy hundreds of trailers for medical testing, quarantining and treatment, especially in rural and remote areas.
- Calgary-based Fluid Energy Group has signed a letter of intent with the federal government to produce hand sanitizer.
- The Rocky Mountain Soap Company in Canmore received certification from Health Canada to create a naturally derived hand sanitizer that is available online.
- Alberta Garment is transitioning to produce hospital gowns.
- Alberta’s manufacturing sector is working to tackle the spread of COVID-19 by exploring new solutions for personal protective equipment.