Departments spend nearly $2.8M on Plexiglas, other COVID-19 guards
OTTAWA -- Over the course of the pandemic, federal departments and agencies have spent nearly $2.8 million on installing Plexiglas and similar clear acrylic products, cough and sneeze guards, protection partitions, and custom glass inside their offices and facilities across the country.
A CTVNews.ca analysis of figures tabled in Parliament show that a total of $2,778,152.26 has been spent on these products since March 1, even with many public servants still working from home.
Nearly all of that money — $2,495,883.40 — was spent on installing plexiglass of some form. The government documents don’t specify whether the purchases were all of the brand-name Plexiglas or another form of clear acrylic sheet. The second highest expense was $189,456.99 on cough and sneeze guards. A total of $82,216.06 was spent on protection partitions, and $20,595.81 was spent on custom glass installations.
Like many businesses and office places, the government’s taken on additional expenses to make workplaces safer for its staff and the public, and for some departments that cost has been far higher than others, particularly those whose employees often interact with the public, or have a number of staff who can’t work remotely.
The RCMP was the top spender on plexiglass products, having spent $1.1 million on the protective sheets to put up in its facilities.
The Canada Border Services Agency was the second top purchaser, putting just over $471,000.00 into installing it at their facilities. According to the department, some of it went into higher-risk facilities “as an additional measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
The CBSA told CTVNews.ca that the plexiglass products were put in place after talks with Health Canada and the Customs and Immigration Union to protect both their frontline officers as well as the public.
Public Services and Procurement Canada was the third highest spender on plexiglass products, paying just under $365,800.00, likely in the host of federal service centres it is responsible for.
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was the top spender on cough and sneeze guards, paying more than $78,600.00 on them, followed by Employment and Social Development Canada and the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development which paid just over $17,100.00 and $15,500.00 respectively.
When it comes to non-Plexiglas protective partitions, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency spent the most, paying nearly $20,000.00 for it, followed by Transport Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada, which spent just over $11,400.00 and $9,500.00 respectively.
Other departments went the custom glass route. The top spender there was Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, which paid just over $5,500.00 followed by Infrastructure Canada and the Department of National Defence which each paid just over $3,800.00 each.