Providing reliable access to quality PPE during pandemics

The beginning of the COVID-1 pandemic brought a severe shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and there was no Canadian standard in place at that time to ensure its certification in this country. To provide a reliable and quality supply of PPE for Canada in the future, SCC supported CSA Group to develop and publish a new standard. CSA Z94.4.1:21 Performance of Filtering Respirators addresses some of the specific needs and requirements identified during the pandemic, such as ensuring masks fit, that they are comfortable and easy to breathe through, and that they have an extended shelf life. The first edition of CSA Z94.4.1:21 covers filtering respirators for particulate matter only, addressing the urgent needs of Canadian health care and essential workers.

SCC is also working with CSA to bring about a Canadian certification program that would replace the current Health Canada guidance for filtering facepiece respirators. The current guidance was created to resolve critical supply issues early on the pandemic. The goal is to have this certification program align with the United States National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s (NIOSH’s) requirements for filtering facepiece respirators. This would ensure that respirators manufactured and approved in Canada will also meet US standards so that they can be sold on both sides of the border.