Manitoba

Royal Canadian Mint to produce sanitizer for health-care workers confronting COVID-19

An international money-manufacturer is pitching in to help support Manitoba health-care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

Winnipeg facility to begin production soon; Ottawa mint plant also creating sanitizer, protective gear

The Royal Canadian Mint location in Winnipeg will begin creating sanitizer on Sunday. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

An international money-manufacturer is pitching in to help support Manitoba health-care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.

This weekend, the Royal Canadian Mint will start making hand sanitizer at its Winnipeg facility, a spokesperson for the mint told CBC News.

The move comes after the Manitoba government issued a call last weekend to local businesses asking them to create needed medical supplies in the fight against COVID-19.

The mint location in Ottawa recently began creating sanitizer and some forms of personal protective gear.

That plant has a department where gold and silver collectible coins are created, which was able to be repurposed to create personal protective equipment, like face shields for health-care workers, a spokesperson said.

Isopropyl alcohol already in stock

The Winnipeg facility doesn't have the ability to manufacture PPE, but it already had one of the main ingredients needed to create sanitizer: isopropyl alcohol. The mint had to purchase glycerol and hydrogen peroxide to finish the product, the spokesperson said.

The rest of the production details were worked out by the mint's research and development team.

Production is expected to ramp up Sunday once a final shipment of chemicals arrives.

The mint has been in talks with the provincial government regarding where the sanitizer product will go, but it's expected to stay in Manitoba and be distributed to those in the local health-care system.

The mint joins other local businesses that have pivoted from their normal product lines to produce alcohol-based sanitizing products in light of COVID-19.

The Winnipeg mint is where loonies, toonies and all Canadian coins in circulation are created, as well as currencies for countries around the world.

About 1,100 staff work across both mint facilities, with roughly 300 based in Winnipeg.

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Bryce Hoye

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Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology and interests in courts, social justice, health and more. He is the Prairie rep for OutCBC. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.

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