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Canadian medical supplies manufacturer AMD Medicom Inc. said Monday it will establish its first Canadian facility to make N95 respirator masks for the domestic market near its Montreal-area head office by July with financial aid from the Quebec government.

Pointe-Claire, Que.-based Medicom, which makes masks in China, Taiwan, France and the United States., will supply 30 million to 50 million surgical and fine particle-blocking N95 masks a year to Ottawa under a proposed long-term agreement, generating $10-million to $20-million in annual sales.

The Quebec government on Monday said it will loan the company $4-million to accelerate the factory’s startup, creating 33 permanent jobs. Federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains has said Ottawa will help fund the facility’s costs, and negotiations continue, a spokeswoman for the minister said.

The federal government signed the domestic supply deal with Medicom after the company was unable to send masks made in its Asian and French factories to export markets, including Canada, earlier this year after host governments either prohibited their export or requisitioned their output for local use. Medicom began sending masks to Canada four weeks ago from inventory stored in 11 countries.

Several other countries have also banned the export of masks or other essential medical equipment, resulting in shortages globally. Those actions have exposed weaknesses in the global supply-chain system after decades of taking the manufacturing of many items offshore, including masks, to low-cost countries, and have raised geopolitical tensions.

The hoarding has prompted Medicom to not only significantly expand production at its existing factories but also look at significantly expanding manufacturing operations in several other countries to serve domestic markets. The company, founded in 1988, has 1,100 employees worldwide and generates more than $500-million in sales.

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