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Ontario premier blames White House for blocking shipment of N95 masks

 Ontario premier Doug Ford says half a million N95 masks are to arrive in the province later this week. They were part of a shipment that was blocked from export by a White House order.

President Donald Trump’s order was to the medical manufacturing company 3M that it cease all shipments of N95 masks to Canada and Mexico.

That has raised concerns with Canadian political leaders. Ontario premier Doug Ford says the N95 masks are essential personal protective equipment for his front line medical workers and his province has only about a week’s supply remaining.

“What I understand is that we have three million masks that were stopped by U.S. officials coming out of 3M in South Dakota. I was briefed not long ago say that we’re able to get 500,000 N95 masks moving forward that should be released today and coming in to Ontario," Ford said Monday.

Ford said he is a bit more optimistic and acknowledges that Ottawa is working with Washington, trying to get an exemption from Trump’s order. He says the additional half-million masks will buy Ontario about another week.

Ford also said he understands there is tremendous competition for the global supply of masks and that manufacturers in Ontario are gearing up to help, but that will take time.

He had said over the weekend that what has happened is the equivalent of forcing a member of the family to starve for necessities and he accused Washington of turning its back on its largest trading partner.

WBFO’s comprehensive news coverage extends into Southern Ontario and Dan Karpenchuk is the station’s voice from the north. The award-winning reporter covers binational issues, including economic trends, the environment, tourism and transportation.