Unifor members at Sanofi Pasteur are poised to increase Canada’s vaccine production capability following the announcement of a $925-million investment in a new vaccine manufacturing facility at the biopharmaceutical company’s historic Connaught site in Toronto.
“The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the weakness of our domestic supply chain leaving Canadians at the mercy of foreign imports of vital products including PPE and vaccines,” said National President Jerry Dias. “In our Build Back Better campaign Unifor has been advocating for investment in manufacturing to make Canada more self-sufficient and create good paying jobs at home.”
Since the early 1900s, Sanofi has produced insulin and life-saving vaccines to help combat illnesses including diphtheria, tetanus, smallpox and polio. On March 31, 2021, Sanofi announced a partnership with federal, provincial and municipal governments to expand production of its influenza vaccine Fluzone, creating 300 new high-quality jobs in Ontario.
"We are ecstatic about this announcement," said Mike Hill, President of Unifor Local 1701, which represents approximately 800 members at the facility. “Our members are proud to make vaccines here and to be part of what can be a growing sector providing good, stable employment to Canadians.”
The new facility will be the first in Canada to produce this type of vaccine from start to finish, with all stages of production at one location. Upgrades to industrial scale capacity will also strengthen Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics.
“This is a positive step to regain the ability to mass produce vaccine on home soil, something that has been painfully absent during the COVID-19 pandemic” said Dias. “Since the manufacturing of flu vaccine is seasonal, this new facility also brings hope of future expansion to grow the production schedule even further.”