British Columbia’s provincial government has partnered with several organizations, including Vancouver-based cloud technology company Traction on Demand and the Digital Technology Supercluster, to create an online platform to coordinate supplies for health workers fighting COVID-19.
“We are moving at an unprecedented pace to meet the demands of this pandemic with innovative solutions.”
The platform, which is called the COVID-19 Supply Hub, was developed by Traction on Demand. The hub is aimed to coordinate, source, and expedite medical supplies for provincial health authorities in order to supply frontline workers with personal protective equipment (PPE) and supplies. The hub allows health authorities to prioritize essential supplies offered by organizations since the onset of the pandemic.
“This made-in-BC innovation showcases how important it is to work together to support our front-line workers,” said BC Premier John Horgan said. “By giving B.C. businesses a platform to help, we are enabling some of our best and brightest minds to meet the demands of this pandemic and help keep people safe.”
The COVID-19 Supply Hub notes the specifications and kinds of critical supplies needed publicly available. Proposals can be then quickly managed and evaluated, so the right products get to the right workers.
The hub’s current focus is on sourcing supplies for the healthcare system, although the government is also accepting donations for other essentials like cleaning supplies. The platform will be managed under the new Provincial Supply Coordination Unit at Emergency Management BC, in partnership with the Provincial Health Services Authority.
“In this provincial state of emergency, partnership and coordination are critical to keep our front-line workers safe and support our COVID-19 response and recovery,” said Mike Farnworth, BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General. “Launching the COVID-19 Supply Hub is an important step in maintaining our supply chain and making sure essential goods and services are getting where they need to go, and fast.”
This is the latest action from the BC government’s COVID-19 Action Plan, which earmarks a total of $5 billion in income support, tax relief, and direct funding for people, businesses, and services. Businesses in the province will have access to $2.2 billion earmarked to support recovery after the outbreak. The provincial government is partnering with business and labour leaders to build an economic stimulus plan.
The Digital Technology Supercluster, located in BC, has the broadest mandate of the five clusters chosen for the Government of Canada’s Innovation Supercluster Initiative. The supercluster is led by companies like Microsoft, Telus, Terramera, D-Wave, as well as the provincial government and BC’s post-secondary institutions. It is currently one of two Superclusters that has put out a call for submissions and has $60 million to invest in projects that will support health and safety, and deliver solutions to issues created by the COVID-19 outbreak.
“From concept to actualization within one week, the supply hub is illustrative of the Supercluster’s ability to harness our community’s power of collaboration,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster. “We are moving at an unprecedented pace to meet the demands of this pandemic with innovative solutions. The supply hub will make a difference and address critical needs.”
Image source Unsplash. Photo by Lee Robinson.