Educators at 49 schools in the NWT will receive face shields donated by The Canadian Shield, a personal protective equipment (PPE) manufacturer based in Waterloo, Ont, the company said in a news release on Wednesday.
“Over 1,000 shields were donated, enough to equip the entire teacher population across the 49 schools,” said Canadian Shield spokesperson Shannon Dodangoda, who added that the items are are in transit and their arrival date isn’t yet known.
The donation comprises 750,000 shields to education departments and ministries across the country –a gesture worth $7.5 million.
The made-in-Canada items are manufactured using 100 per cent recyclable material and can be sanitized and reused at least 15 times, Canadian Shield said.
The Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) will distribute the shields directly to schools, said ECE spokesperson Jaimee Kepa.
“As the health and safety of our educators and students remains our top priority, we are looking for innovative solutions that achieve a safer learning environment,” said R.J. Simpson, minister of ECE. “On behalf of the GNWT, I would like to extend heartfelt gratitude to the Canadian Shield for their generosity in distributing face shields for use in the NWT’s 49 schools. It is great to see Canadian companies step up and support our education systems in this time of need.”
Canadian Shield president Jeremy Hedges said he was thrilled to be working with ECE in helping out educators in the territory.
“We want to make sure that every teacher going back to the classroom this fall has a Canadian Shield to keep them safe,” he said.
The company began manufacturing the face coverings in March at the height of the Covid pandemic, when Canada was struggling to source PPE from global suppliers.
It received assistance from dozens of school boards and other organizations in 3D printing the original version of the shield to maximize production and try to protect as many front-line healthcare workers as possible.
The company managed to donated 20,000 shields to healthcare workers during the critical weeks.
“We are so appreciative of the help we received from school boards and organizations across Canada when we first launched The Canadian Shield,” said Hedges. “This is our way of giving back to the community and supporting Canadian educators.”
After the company launched in March, it grew from 10 employees to more than 300 and secured a contract from the federal government to manufacture 10 million face shields for front-line and essential workers.
It has also introduced cloth and surgical masks and a new line of face shields for children aged five to 12.