Medical gowns urgently purchased by the Trudeau government from a virtually unknown small company cost nearly a quarter of a billion more than normal, our Bureau of Investigation has found.
According to estimates obtained from several sources, the federal government paid approximately $ 18.55 for each of the gowns imported under a non-tender contract of $ 371.3 million with the company Proline Advantage, d ‘Ottawa.
At the end of last summer, with the global medical supply crisis over, those Category 3 gowns were only worth $ 7 to $ 9 each, our sources say. This means that the federal government could have paid an additional premium of up to $ 231 million.
Our information allowed us to determine that the order placed with the small Ottawa business was for about 20 million gowns, a figure the Trudeau government refused to release.
This is the largest contract awarded by the federal government in its COVID-19 purchasing blitz last spring.
Fair price in spring
A source with experience in importing medical equipment told us that the price of $ 18.55 for each gown was not exaggerated when the order was placed in early April.
“These were the prices paid at the time,” he said. The international medical equipment market was then in a state of panic due to the pandemic.
The bulk of the order for the gowns began to arrive in Canada two or three months later, as prices began to fall.
According to our research, shipping this massive order from China required the use of 300 containers and continued at least until the end of August.
According to our source, Ottawa paid inflated prices last spring for gowns obtained after the shortage was all but over. This is, in his opinion, where the shoe pinches.
So far, the government has refused requests for information to assess the unit cost of gowns. This refusal made opposition parties in the Commons say that Ottawa lacks transparency on the matter.
Owned by Ottawa businessman Mike Caron, the small company selected for the contract, Proline Advantage, appears to have limited experience with medical equipment.
DIRECTLY FROM CHINA
A large part of the order obtained by Proline Advantage comes from the company Huaian Angel Medical Instruments, located not far from Shanghai.
According to the Import Genius website, some 300 containers loaded with medical gowns were shipped over the summer from China to Canada. The gowns are believed to be currently in Health Canada warehouses, the locations of which are kept secret for security reasons.
Despite its imposing size, the contract awarded to Proline Advantage represents only a fraction of the medical gowns that Canada procured.
In total, Ottawa spent $ 1.8 billion to acquire 132.8 million gowns, both here and abroad. Other equipment has also been ordered, including masks and ventilators, for a total sum of $ 6.1 billion.
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