Ottawa Says COVID Ventilators Sold as Scrap Helped It ‘Understand’ Recycling Business

Ottawa Says COVID Ventilators Sold as Scrap Helped It ‘Understand’ Recycling Business
A patient is attached to a ventilator in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at a hospital in downtown Vancouver on April 21, 2020. (The Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward)
Andrew Chen

Ottawa says the brand new ventilators and parts it bought during the COVID-19 pandemic and then unloaded for as little as $6 were sold as scrap metal so the government could “further understand” the recycling business.

There was “one negotiated sale of four (4) ventilator samples (with conditions)” to recycling organizations in an effort to engage the industry and to “further understand constraints and considerations of recycling,” said a Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) document obtained through an access to information request by Blacklock’s Reporter and reviewed by The Epoch Times.

Since January 2022, ventilators were sold for $21.39 apiece, while new ventilator parts went for as little as $6 a carton.

Access to information records indicate that the government began scrapping ventilators as early as Aug. 24, 2022. They were “sold for parts” for a total of $2,025 in Langley, B.C., according to an auction notice that day, a month after Ottawa re-established travel restrictions, including mandatory random testing. The World Health Organization did not declare an end to the pandemic until nine months later, on May 5, 2023.

In a Nov. 22, 2022, sale of sensors and ventilator parts that fetched $3,111, descriptions of the items said “most are unused” and “in original packaging,” according to the records.

All devices sold were labelled as “Canadian Emergency Ventilators,” a brand associated with B.C.-based company StarFish Medical.
On Nov. 9, 2020, Liberal MP Brenda Shanahan told the Commons Ethics Committee that Starfish had secured a contract to deliver 7,500 ventilators for $169 million, or roughly $22,533 per ventilator.

Meanwhile, the government had signed a $15.82 million contract with Canadian Emergency Ventilators Inc., Public Services and Procurement Canada told The Epoch Times in a May 29 statement. PSPC declined to disclose the unit price of ventilators or the total number purchased from Canadian Emergency Ventilators, citing commercial confidentiality.

PSPC said the government in 2020 ordered over 40,000 ventilators to meet long-term COVID-19 needs based on early projections. The orders included roughly 38,500 ventilators from Canadian manufacturers who responded to the government’s Plan to Mobilize Industry to Fight COVID-19. Following the shift in medical advice, the role of ventilators in treating COVID-19 was reduced and the government subsequently cut the order to roughly 28,000 devices.

A former executive from StarFish Medical told MPs in June 2020 that the company started designing and making ventilators in March 2020, acknowledging the substantial costs incurred due to the urgency of the endeavour.

“Due to speed, this has not been a cheap enterprise,” John Walmsley, then Starfish’s executive vice-president, testified before the House of Commons Industry Committee on June 1, 2020.

“In order to deliver a safe product fast, we have paid for contingencies that we have not necessarily needed. We have custom-machined parts in Canada rather than ordering ready-made parts from overseas, but we still needed to source some key components internationally.”

The Epoch Times reached out to Starfish for comment but didn’t hear back by publication time.