Burnaby’s Vitacore Industries Inc. was the first Canadian company to receive Health Canada authorization to produce N95-equivalent respirators on home soil.
The Health Canada authorization, granted in August 2020, makes the company's CAN95 the first and only medical grade respirator manufactured in Canada.
And it’s getting rave reviews from users who think this is what’s needed now to stop the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19.
“I’m very impressed with new @vitacoreinc CAN99 respirators that I just received,” tweeted Andrew Longhurst, who goes to school in Burnaby. “High-quality product with comfortable, tight fit. Made in Burnaby. We should be providing kids & workers in education settings with high-efficiency respirators so we can beat back Delta.”
Vitacore said it partnered with McMaster University to develop this Canadian N95-equivalent respirator with testing completed by the National Research Council of Canada.
Its single-use fold CAN95 respirators have tested at a higher average particle filtration efficiency than the N95 standard, said the company. Vitacore is also the first company in Canada with an integrated facility producing raw materials and finished products.
I’m very impressed with new @vitacoreinc CAN99 respirators that I just received. High-quality product with comfortable, tight fit. Made in #Burnaby.— Andrew Longhurst vaxxed & masked (@a_longhurst) September 4, 2021
We should be providing kids & workers in education settings settings with high-efficiency respirators so we can beat back Delta. pic.twitter.com/JmGZk0msAB
Their respirators are suitable for frontline health workers and have been used by many Vancouver Canucks support staff during the team's latest variant outbreak. In fact, they supply most of Canada's NHL teams with respirators.
"We decided to put our R&D team to the test of making what we define as the best respirator in the world," explains president Mikhail Moore.
As N95 production ramps up across the country, there are growing calls for the public to upgrade masks to further stop the spread of the coronavirus.
"It is good for the public to start levelling up their mask and start using a higher level of filtration, given the fact that we are seeing variants that are spreading at a much higher rate," says Moore.
Vitacore was born in Canada to support Canadian health-care professionals during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Helmed by local business leaders, the privately-held company has quickly grown to a team of 35 employees including engineers and medical professionals at its facility in Burnaby. In addition to the CAN95 respirators, Vitacore also produces additional personal protective equipment including ASTM surgical masks for adults (levels 1, 2, and 3) and the ASTM L1 children's masks.
Researchers at McMaster's Centre of Excellence in Protective Equipment Materials (CEPEM) provided expertise to develop the fabric, determine the best machines for production and test the efficacy of the mask's filtration. Additional testing was conducted using scanning electron microscopes at the Canadian Centre for Electron Microscopy (CCEM) at McMaster University.
- With files from Thor Diakow, Vancouver is Awesome