April 19, 2020
“THE BUILDING next door,” says Flavio Volpe, “is a seniors’ home.” Over Easter, as he drove to and from his office, children were outside, holding up signs sending love to grandparents within. The coronavirus had ruled out visits and hugs. On Easter Monday, April 13th, the director of the home, in the west end of Toronto, reported that 25 of its 247 residents had died of covid-19. “If you’re not asking what more you can do,” Mr Volpe says, “we’re all going to fall short.”
For Mr Volpe, that means responding to the surge in demand for essential medical supplies caused by the pandemic. He is president of APMA, the trade association for Canada’s auto-parts suppliers. So far 77 member firms are converting some capacity to making medical equipment. A consortium led by one of the biggest, Linamar, is helping to assemble ventilators. Woodbridge, an upholsterer, is turning out masks. Plastics firms are producing face shields; airbag-makers, gowns; others, nose-swabs.