Ontario Supports Production of Inclusive Made-in-Ontario Face Masks

Published on December 18, 2020

Innovative product will benefit the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

News Release

TORONTO - The Ontario government is providing Mississauga-based McRae Imaging with $332,000 to support the production of inclusive personal protective equipment. The company is making face masks featuring an innovative lip-reading lens. This new mask will create a unique solution for the Deaf and hard of hearing community during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is being provided through the Ontario Together Fund.

The My Access Mask was designed by the Como Foundation, a not-for-profit enterprise also based in Mississauga. Through a partnership with the Como Foundation, McRae Imaging plans to produce 1.4 million My Access Masks, making sure more people in Ontario can comfortably use this essential piece of personal protective equipment. The My Access Mask will carry the Ontario Made logo as part of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters program to highlight quality made-in-Ontario products.

"It's simply amazing how quickly Ontario's manufacturing sector can collaborate to create new and innovative products in our fight against COVID-19," said Minister Fedeli. "By supporting companies like McRae Imaging we are helping to keep everyone safe during the pandemic, including those in the Deaf and hard of hearing community." 

Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province's stockpile of Ontario-made products and PPE. This new manufacturing capacity will help the province combat the current COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses.

"I am pleased that McRae Imaging has received the Ontario Together Fund for their investments in the My Access Masks created by the Como Foundation to help those with a hearing impairment and others who are compromised by mask wearing," said Sheref Sabawy, MPP for Mississauga-Erin Mills. "It is thanks to these great initiatives, and organizations coming together that we will remain strong during these difficult times."

"The My Access Mask is a great example of the Ontario Spirit and the creativity and ingenuity here in Mississauga," said Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore. "I'm so thrilled that our government is supporting this landmark partnership between McRae Imaging and the Como Foundation. Not only will this crucial funding support the domestic production of accessible PPE at a time when it's needed most; it will help to make life easier for Ontarians who are deaf or hard of hearing, and for their families."

"We know that COVID-19 has been particularly difficult for people with disabilities," said Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. "Our government salutes the efforts of those who are working to help people with disabilities stay connected in our communities through their innovative products and services."

"I am honored that McRae Imaging has been chosen to receive this OTF grant. The impact of the grant cannot be understated — we have been able to bring back our entire finishing team with an additional seven new hires," said Bob Murray, President of McRae Imaging. "Furthermore, the grant has allowed us to invest in capital equipment increasing our production speed by a factor of four. It all adds up to product innovation that drives a material economic benefit while creating one of the most protective three-layered masks on the market for the Como Foundation."

"We could not imagine nor understand how isolating this could be for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, not being able to communicate," said Max Cucchiella of the Como Foundation. "Creating the My Access Mask was the change towards breaking down communications barriers. The funding and our partnerships have allowed us to bring awareness and solutions to every community in the province with our My Access Mask," added Sarah Veinot of the Como Foundation.  

Quick Facts

  • The government launched the $50 million Ontario Together Fund to help businesses retool their operations to produce PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services for businesses to reopen safely.
  • Businesses and individuals looking to help in the fight against COVID-19 can submit their proposals through the Ontario Together web portal.
  • Since launching in July, the CME’s Ontario Made initiative has been helping the province’s manufacturing base regain and recover revenues lost due to COVID-19 by encouraging manufacturers and producers to register and promote their products on SupportOntarioMade.ca and use the Ontario Made logo.
  • More than 1,600 manufacturers with more than 6,500 products are participating in Ontario Made.
  • The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory provides businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers.
  • Ontario’s Main Street Recovery Plan includes a one-time grant of up to $1,000 for eligible main street small businesses — in retail, food and accommodations, and other service sectors — with two to nine employees to help offset the unexpected costs of PPE.

Additional Resources