Brief: Canadian Retailers Step Up to Support PPE Supply

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By Jessica Finch

This is the first of two ‘Good News Briefs’ that Retail Insider will run this week discussing good things that retailers are doing amid the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The following brands are supporting the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) at a critical time where health and other front-line workers are at risk of infection:


photo: nobisphoto: nobis

photo: nobis

Nobis: Canadian premium outerwear brand Nobis has announced a three-week global initiative to combat COVID-19. Until April 30th, 100 percent of all online sales will be donated to protect frontline health care professionals in urgent need of supplies and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

image: nobisimage: nobis

image: nobis

In Canada, the list of recipients include the CanadaHelps COVID-19 Healthcare & Hospital Fund, which supports over 90 hospital foundations across the country, and five local Ontario hospitals. All international sales will be directed to the Red Cross COVID-19 Global Appeal.

This program is being implemented in addition to Nobis’ initial donation of $100,000 to local hospitals in Ontario.

Customers making any purchase on until April 30 will be able to direct the donation funds to the organization of their choice, by selecting the hospital or organization name at the time of check out. For the full list of benefitting foundations visit

Nobis operates two retail stores in Toronto, including a store on Queen Street West which opened in 2015 as well as a flagship on Hazelton Avenue in Toronto’s Yorkville area which opened in 2017.


photo: knixphoto: knix

photo: knix

Knix: Digitally-native Canadian intimate brand Knix has started a Knix GoFundMe initiative to raise funds to support PPE needs of Canada’s frontline workers.

image: knix instagramimage: knix instagram

image: knix instagram

Knix Founder & CEO, Joanna Griffiths and 26-year old brother, Dr. Chris Griffiths are collaborating on the effort, and since it launched on March 21 the campaign has secured over $250,000 in community donations, financing 200,000 units of certified masks and gloves to hospitals and clinics across Canada.

The Toronto-based global company also announced last week that a collaboration with the Robert Kerr Foundation to expand the campaign’s reach to support PPE needs for the GTA’s homeless shelters and drop-ins is in the works.

Knix opened its first two standalone stores last fall in Toronto and Vancouver.


photos: jewlr facebookphotos: jewlr facebook

photos: jewlr facebook


Jewlr: Toronto-Based online jewelry company Jewlr is innovating in the face of COVID-19 by using its CNC laser — typically used to craft personalized ornaments — to manufacture face shields for Ontario’s front line workers.

After hearing about the shortage of personal protective gear among Canadian front line staff, Jewlr Founder, Tony Davis, and his team decided to put their manufacturing equipment to work creating protective shields that help preserve much-needed face masks.

To date, the company has crafted and shipped over 2,500 face shields to front line workers across Ontario, all as donations to their community. This work is ongoing and the company plans to continue as long as there is a need.


photo: pubcophoto: pubco

photo: pubco

Pubco: Blainville-based company Pubco has announced that it will be contributing to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic by producing hundreds of thousands of protective visors for essential workers.

The Quebec family manufacturer known for its high-quality packaging products have already sold more than 100,000 visors to private companies working in priority sectors, such as senior care homes and the food and pharmaceutical industries.

image: pubcoimage: pubco

image: pubco

The new protective visors — which are made entirely in Quebec — were created by two engineers and two industrial designers at Pubco. Made from HACCP/BRC certified material, layered cardboard, and a polyester (PET) face shield, Pubco’s new single-use visors have the same level of impermeability as plastic. Easily assembled in less than 30 seconds, this protective equipment is completely adjustable with a laminated strap. The visors are affordable, retailing for $2.50-$3.00 per unit (according to the minimum quantity required). The visors are now available in large numbers.

To order visors, visit or contact the Pubco customer service department by phone at 1-866-984-4888,450-433-4272 or by email at


photo: harry rosenphoto: harry rosen

photo: harry rosen

Harry Rosen: Last month luxury menswear retailer Harry Rosen began producing face masks for health workers across the country, and has now expanded to selling them to consumers for $25 each. To buy one, visit:

harry rosen face masks. photo: harry rosenharry rosen face masks. photo: harry rosen

harry rosen face masks. photo: harry rosen

Canadian Tire: Last week Canadian Tire announced that it offering up to $3 million in free PPE and other protective – such as cleaning supplies, scrubs, running and safety shoes – needed by frontline medical workers and community organizations. If your frontline medical or community organization is in need of essential products, please send us a request for support through our website here.

T&T Supermarkets: The Vancouver-based grocer announced a donation of 10million medical masks to Canadian hospitals and long-term care facilities. Recipients of the supplies include BC Provincial Health Services Authority, Alberta Health Services, Yee Hong Foundation, Mon Sheong Foundation, Sunnybrook Hospital, Grand River Hospital, St. Mary’s General Hospital, and the organization Mobilizing Masks for Health Care Providers in Ontario.

Canada Goose: Luxury Canadian outerwear brand Canada Goose is leveraging its manufacturing facilities to begin production of necessary medical gear for frontline healthcare workers and patients across Canada in the fight against COVID-19. The Company has begun making scrubs and patient gowns — which are in short supply across the country — and will be distributing them to hospitals next week.

INKSmith: INKSmith, a maker of 3D printers and laser cutters in Kitchener, Ontario is producing Health Canada–approved face shields to donate to local hospitals – and has started a spinoff company, The Canadian Shield, to do it.

Irwin Toy: Canadian toy company Irwin Toy has made a dramatic shift from selling dolls and trucks to selling medical-grade masks in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is currently making between 250,000 and 500,000 masks a day.

Jessica Finch is a writer and editor based in Toronto. She holds a BA in English and Psychology and is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Publishing program. She has extensive managerial experience in the food service industry, and is interested in exploring innovations within this sector and other retail environments. Email:


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