When Premier Doug Ford rolled into Simcoe County on Thursday, he got a first-hand glimpse of the area's bustling manufacturing sector.
Ford had a chance to see, up close and personal, how companies have retooled to produce personal protective equipment (PPE), both effectively and efficiently.
On Thursday afternoon, Ford stopped at Oro-Medonte Township’s Molded Precision Components (MPC) to see how the precision instrument and 3D printing company switched from making automotive components to focusing on face shields and other PPE.
After inspecting the facility on Line 4, Ford told BarrieToday that it's companies like MPC that keep him motivated during the pandemic.
“People like this energize me every single day. It's just amazing, the ingenuity and technology that we have here in Ontario,” the premier said.
“We don’t have to rely on any other leader or any other government to supply our critical PPE," Ford added. "We have the people, the technology and ingenuity, and this here today is a perfect example.”
Ford prasied MPC for its quick turnover rate: “When we (Ontario) all pull together and in the same direction, there is no one that can compete against us, not anywhere in the world.”
After his visit to MPC, the premier headed to JOMI Technical Services in Barrie’s south end. The company has been in business for 15 years, the last five in Barrie, and started out as an engineering consulting firm.
JOMI president Mike Hoy told BarrieToday that, while the company started producing manufactured parts about three years ago, one of their clients retooled their thinking when COVID-19 hit.
“We started working together with them in March and really excelled at a new product design for the launch of a more medical-friendly product,” Hoy said. “The product we’re showing here today is better than a mask and is more directed to frontl-ine workers to allow them to breathe even better as they work long days.”
The respiratory product is not only more breathable than a cloth mask, but reusable and can also be sterilized.
JOMI has already invested $1.1 million and is soon to inject another $1.6 million. It will not only expand with another seven moulding machines, but will add an additional 50 employees to their current roster of 32.
“We believe that is the key to success nowadays, the key to helping the economy and worker. Seeing what needs to be produced, what needs to be manufactured and adjusting one’s focus,” Hoy said.
Production halted briefly Thursday for the premier's visit, but Hoy believes such visits by politicians help not only morale, but also get the word out about local businesses.
“We’ll get back to work and make up the time, but this was a great thing for our employees to see," he said. "To have to premier come in and see what we’re doing adds a bit of pride to the work. It's not just the exposure of it; it's being able to tell our story. We want people to know what we do and see that businesses can thrive with some commitment and thought.”
While at JOMI, Ford said a solid economy can strengthen the province as a whole and hopefully help avoid reductions to funding for social services.
“I believe in a strong economy that helps us to not make cuts,” Ford said. “When you have a company like JOMI looking to hire more people, that allows people to thrive and grow, which helps the economy do the same.
"We, the government, need to let companies do their thing and only be there for them when they need a hand," he added. "We need to let the market dictate and not interfere with their growth.”