TORONTO -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will not pay the full price for medical masks that do not live up to medical standards.

About eight million of 11 million N95 respirators shipped to the government from China through a Montreal-based supplier failed to meet specifications, federal officials said Friday.

Trudeau says the discovery speaks to the government's "rigorous verification system" overseen by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

The prime minister did not name the price the government will pay for the sub-standard respirators, which are used to protect against the COVID-19 virus.

Trudeau says some of those leftover N95 masks -- so-named because they are supposed to screen out 95 per cent of small particles -- may be distributed for non-medical use.

Canada continues to experience a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) amid a global surge in demand triggered by the pandemic while Canadian manufacturers scramble to pivot to PPE production.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 9, 2020.