By Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing, Charlotte Products Ltd.
One of the biggest challenges we experienced over this past year has been managing our supply. The pandemic caused manufacturers everywhere to struggle with bottle shortages as we kept up with incredible demand for cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers to support the fight against COVID-19. We often had to think creatively about our sources for packaging materials. This included arranging trades with our suppliers, relying on personal relationships when possible to secure what we needed, and often it would result in a delay of much-needed products that are essential in fighting the spread of infection.
Thanks to a grant from the Ontario government intended to overcome the pandemic and with help from a local manufacturing company, we have a solution that will ensure we can meet the demand and continue to manufacture these essential solutions that help prevent the spread of infection into the spring and summer as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
The Ontario government is investing $1 million from the Ontario Together Fund to help Peterborough’s Merit Precision manufacture bottles for hand sanitizers and disinfectants. This expansion will create 10 new local jobs and retain 75 positions, while producing the vital products to support the fight against COVID-19.
Merit Precision, an injection moulding company that primarily manufactures parts and components for the auto sector, is investing $1.3 million in this project, which includes purchasing molding, automation and bottle-making equipment. Merit Precision is a neighbor of ours, located just across the road from us.
Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province’s stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and PPE. This new manufacturing and research capacity will help the province combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses.
Since its launch, the Ontario Together web portal has received more than 30,000 submissions that have resulted in more than 19,000 emergency supply leads. These leads have been converted into more than $910 million in purchases of critical supplies and equipment to support staff on the front lines including more than 29 million gowns and more than 491 million gloves, 148 million masks and over 14 million face shields.
As the pandemic rages on, with a new virus strain to contend with and vaccinations slowly rolling out, we anticipate that as more businesses and public spaces open the demand for cleaners, disinfectants and hand sanitizers will continue to rise. Thanks to the foresight and generosity of our community partners, we are confident that we will be able to help our customers protect their public spaces in the months to come. It is with gratitude to those who’ve come forward to help us and with hope for the health and safety of all public spaces that we continue to serve our customers in the fight against COVID-19.