Taxpayers face a whopping bill of more than $500 million because the federal government failed to stockpile needed protective equipment, according to figures presented to a Commons committee.

The federal government now has to pay 380 % mark-up for masks needed by frontline health-care workers battling COVID-19, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.

“You’re seeing a range of prices for masks,” deputy public works minister Bill Matthews told the government operations committee.

“When this crisis started, we were looking at about $1.20 a mask if you had orders early on. More recent orders, you’re seeing prices quoted up to $5 or $6 a mask, for N95 respirators. So, the cost of masks depends on when you placed your order, frankly, and when you had your arrangements in place.”

Conservative MP Kelly McCauley responded: “So if the stockpile had been stocked up, we would have saved a lot of money.”

Earlier, Matthews told the Commons health committee the feds had placed rush orders for 130 million hospital-grade masks from Chinese suppliers.

The orders were going to cost $780 million compared to the pre-pandemic price of $162.5 million — $617.5-million increase.


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