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Canada Seeks Assistance from Auto Manufacturers to Produce Medical Equipment

March 25, 2020

This bulletin is current up to close of business on March 25, 2020. As circumstances remain fluid, please check in with your usual Blakes contact for any updates.

On March 25, 2020, the Government of Canada (Government) passed the COVID-19 Emergency Response Act, which sets out details in respect of the Government’s response to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis. The new legislation includes important amendments to Canada’s Food and Drugs Act and Patent Act that will enable the Government to authorize automotive and other manufacturers to redeploy their facilities to help meet the increasing demand for medical equipment such as ventilators and protective masks.

This bulletin summarises the key measures in the new legislation impacting auto manufacturers.


  • The Food and Drugs Act has been amended to allow the Governor in Council to make any regulations that are necessary for the purpose of preventing or alleviating shortages of drugs and medical devices in Canada in order to protect human health.


  • The Patent Act has been amended to require the Commissioner of Patents to authorize the Government, or any other person designated by the Minister of Health, to construct, use and sell a patented invention to the extent necessary to respond to a public health emergency on application by the Minister of Health.

  • The non-transferrable authorization to produce the patented invention lasts for one year, but may be terminated earlier if the Minister of Health determines that the authorization is no longer necessary.

  • The Government and any other person authorized to produce the patented invention must pay the patent owner an amount that the Commissioner of Patents considers adequate with regard to the economic value of the authorization and the extent to which the patented invention is produced.

  • Producing and selling the patented invention is not an infringement of the patent, but the patent owner can apply to the Federal Court to stop production and sale if they are being done in ways that are inconsistent with the Commissioner of Patents’ authorization.

  • Authorizations to produce patented inventions under this amendment can only be granted until September 30, 2020.

For further information, please reach out to a member of the Blakes Automotive group or your usual Blakes contact at any time.

Please visit our COVID-19 Resource Centre to learn more about how COVID-19 may impact your business.