RCM retools in fight against COVID-19

After retooling part of its Ottawa facility beginning in mid-March, the Royal Canadian Mint is now producing hand sanitizer and face shields in the fight against COVID-19.

With the Mint’s numismatic line on pause since March 20, their research and design team saw an opportunity to respond to the country’s shortage of personal protective equipment, according to an April 14 story published by the National Post. It’s the first time the Mint has retooled since the Second World War.

Using the World Health Organization’s three-ingredient recipe – isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and glycerol – the Mint is expected to donate 1,000 litres of hand sanitizer to the Ottawa Hospital this April.

After earning Health Canada’s approval to produce and donate the product, the Mint’s Winnipeg facility will also begin making a similar sanitizer for donation to that city’s local healthcare providers.

Using 3D printers and metal-bending machines, the Mint also began producing face shields in mid-April and is expected to produce “a few hundred masks every week for the foreseeable future,” according to the Post story. They will also be donated to the Ottawa Hospital.

NUMISMATIC PRODUCTION SUSPENDED

As of April 1, the Mint’s inventory included “a limited supply” of bullion coins, with the Crown corporation “fulfilling all the orders we can,” according to senior manager of public affairs Alex Reeves.

While the Mint resumed limited bullion production of its one-ounce Gold Maple Leaf (GML) and Silver Maple Leaf (SML) bullion coins by early April, numismatic production remains temporarily suspended in Ottawa.

Looking ahead to next month’s May numismatic catalogue and beyond, Reeves said the remainder of this year’s coin program, “beyond April, remains a work in progress.”

“We’ll announce the product line up as per our usual timelines.”

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