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A worker at a Honeywell International Inc. factory producing N95 masks May 5, 2020, in Phoenix.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The federal government has suspended shipments of N95 masks from a Montreal-based supplier after about eight million masks made in China failed to meet specifications.

The office of Procurement Minister Anita Anand says that of the nearly 11 million masks received from the distributor, about one million met federal standards and another 1.6 million masks are still being tested.

N95 masks used to protect against COVID-19 are so-named because they are supposed to screen out 95 per cent of small particles.

The department says none of the approximately eight million masks that did not meet federal standards were distributed for medical use, though assessment is ongoing for other uses.

The government says it has contracts with several suppliers for a total of some 135.5 million masks.

It says Canada has received 23 planeloads of personal protective equipment and medical supplies including more than 33 million surgical masks.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2020.

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