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April 6, 2020

Federal government’s call to action for manufacturers: Five considerations for those responding

LAST UPDATED April 6, 2020

The Government of Canada is seeking to mobilize manufacturing resources to urgently produce healthcare and sanitary equipment as part of Canada’s fight against COVID-19.

Manufacturing is a key sector of Manitoba’s economy, and our geography, access to distribution networks, and supply of warehousing facilities give Manitoba manufacturers an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution to this initiative.

To learn more about the Government’s call to action to the manufacturing sector, click here.

From a legal perspective, manufacturers can prepare to answer the Call to Action by considering these points:

  • Labour. Will your business need to change the working hours, positions, and conduct of the workforce? If your manufacturing location is unionized, consult the collective agreement and reach out to the local(s) as soon as you can to ensure your workforce is mobilized for the task ahead.
  • Intellectual Property and Licensing. Consider whether any tools, goods, or services to be used in your production are licensed by third parties. The licensing arrangement could purport to limit your use of the licensed product. The terms of the licence could potentially be varied, by law or by negotiation, to enable your participation in the Call to Action.
  • Occupational Health and Safety. Your workplace will need good COVID-19 preventative measures to operate safely, and the re-tooling of your facility could create unfamiliar work environments and practices for your workers.
  • Supply Contracts. As a supplier, you might need to be alleviated of your business-as-usual delivery obligations—now, and for some time in the future—to get the capacity needed to manufacture new products efficiently.
  • Disclosure and corporate governance. As a business, your shareholders, creditors, and other stakeholders might require consultation or notification.

We are available.

We recognize the significant economic and personal consequences facing our clients at this time. All our lawyers are available and we’ll do everything we can to help. 

Resource first posted March 24, 2020, with reports from Aron Grusko and Ari Hanson.