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Supporting the economy: Canadian manufacturing’s role.

3M Brockville team picture

Manufacturing is at the heart of the Canadian economy.

The people and products behind manufacturing in Canada account for more than 10% of Canada’s GDP, producing $174 billion in goods while providing 1.7 million full-time, well-paying jobs.1

At 3M, our Canadian manufacturing arm is one of our core strengths. We create innovative products and solutions for our customers, applying science to make a real impact and inspire innovation, especially during the pandemic. Our products help meet our everyday needs including cleaning products, tapes, abrasives, and other solutions that help improve our homes and businesses while helping create better patient outcomes in healthcare.

Our eight manufacturing facilities cover over 1-million square feet of production space, producing a wide range of products. Our 600-plus production employees help to improve lives around the world with the products they produce, while advancing their own career and development.

We have added to our diverse portfolio by recently opening another respirator domestic manufacturing facility that produces respirators. This will help to increase the supply of respirators to Canadians in healthcare, frontline and critical infrastructure positions as the waves of the pandemic continue, and into the future. The respirators offer protection against the pandemic as Canadian businesses look to operate safely as we move through the economic recovery.

Manufacturing in Canada is one of 3M’s fundamental strengths. Our talented employees at our manufacturing plants use technology and data to drive their decisions. This enables us to supply innovative, made-in-Canada products through our global distribution network. Each day at 3M, one idea leads to the next, keeping our manufacturing sites humming for the benefit of everyone.

Here’s how 3M manufacturing locations across Canada work toward delivering high-quality products for Canadians.

Brockville, Ontario: producing personal protective equipment, respirators, and tapes.

In April 2021, our newly expanded manufacturing site manufactured and shipped its  first 3M respirators and made their way to Canadians in healthcare, frontline, and critical infrastructure positions.

The opening of the plant will allow for the number of the 3M respirators available to triple in the Canadian market and help businesses navigate the reopening of the economy. The plant expansion is allowing us to provide 3M respirators within Canada for the foreseeable future – whether it be another health crisis or getting back to work for the other industries that rely on respiratory protection to do their job.

Another plant at Brockville produces a high volume of different tapes. These products are essential for construction and home improvement, industrial, automotive, aerospace, stationery, and office market sectors. Masking tapes and the backings of Post-it® Extreme Notes are also made at this location.

The plant is ISO-50001 certified, one of the highest standards of continuous improvement in energy efficiency. Our other Brockville plant also produces personal safety products including filters and cartridges for PAPRs (Powered Air Purifying Respirators) and reusable respirator filters and cartridges. PAPRs are designed to provide a constant filtered airflow, and are commonly used to protect workers in heavy industrial and manufacturing settings. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, PAPRs have been critical in providing respiratory protection to healthcare workers providing continuous care to patients in intensive care units (ICUs), and paramedics transporting COVID patients.2  

London, Ontario: specialists in abrasives and tapes.

Our largest manufacturing plant in Canada, the London, Ontario location, is a 500,000 square foot facility, that is also ISO 50001 certified, producing a wide range of abrasives and tapes. If you’ve used 3M sandpaper or Duct Tape, it was likely made at our London facility. These products are geared to automobile manufacturing and refinishing, aerospace, construction, and home improvement markets.

Perth, Ontario: delivering sponges, scouring pads, lint rollers, tapes, and films.

Home cleaning has been a big trend in in the past couple of years and our manufacturing plants in Perth, Ontario delivers the products that help keep our homes and businesses squeaky clean.

One specializes in Scotch-BriteTM Brand sponges and scouring pads for customers in home, commercial, and industrial markets. The second location produces Scotch-BriteTM Brand lint rollers to help you get a handle on pet hair and other fuzzies. It’s a sticky business! This location also produces tapes and films used in packaging material, industrial applications, and oil and gas extraction. It also produces extruded films for medical, masking, and automotive applications. 

Morden, Manitoba: helping protect lives by producing heart monitoring electrodes.

The facility in Morden, Manitoba produces 3M™ Red Dot™ Monitoring Electrodes. The electrodes are used everyday in healthcare settings to help protect patient lives by providing reliable electrocardiography (EKG) heartbeat monitoring for doctors. The soft foam tape backing on the electrodes provide a gentle adhesion to protect the patient's skin.

Chicoutimi, Quebec: specializing in fire prevention and nuclear safety materials.

Our manufacturing presence in Quebec produces metal composites, processed aluminum, and advanced materials like embedded aluminum sheeting for the industrial sector.

Contributing to Canada’s economic engine today, and in the future.

Since 3M Canada’s inception in 1951, we have dedicated ourselves to helping improve the lives of Canadians with our innovative products. Many of the products we manufacture in Canada are also exported around the world, contributing to Canada’s export economy through international trade.

Between our manufacturing footprint, diverse portfolio of products, and providing fulltime employment to over 1900 3Mers, we take great pride in our contributions to the Canadian economy.

As we celebrate 70 years of operation in Canada, the relentless pursuit of innovation at 3M has been the common denominator. This is the path we will continue for the next 70 years and beyond, with science leading the way, developing solutions to improve lives. This leaves me optimistic about what we can achieve as a country, working together to overcome our challenges and delivering a brighter future for the true north strong and free.

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  1. Government of Canada: Canadian manufacturing sector gateway.
  2. Ontario Health: Optimizing the supply of personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

About the Author

[enBio=Penny has more than 20 years of global brand and marketing experience, including Global Marketing Director of 3M’s Safety and Industrial Business Group, its largest business based at 3M global headquarters in St. Paul, Minnesota. Penny also led 3M’s 2015 global rebrand: “Science. Applied to Life.™” She started her career at 3M Canada in 2000 and in January 2020 moved back to Canada to take on the role of President. ],[enJob=President, 3M Canada],[frBio=Penny possède plus de 20 ans d’expérience en marque et en marketing à l’échelle mondiale, y compris en tant que directrice du marketing mondial au sein du Secteur sécurité et industriel de 3M, soit le plus important secteur de l’entreprise basé à son siège social mondial de St. Paul, au Minnesota. Penny a également dirigé le changement de la marque 3M à l’échelle mondiale en 2015 : « Science. Au service de la Vie.MC ». Elle a débuté sa carrière au sein de 3M Canada en 2000, puis elle est retournée au Canada en janvier 2020 pour occuper le poste de présidente. ],[frJob=Présidente, 3M Canada]

Profile Photo of Penny Wise
First batch of Canadian-made respirators.