By Mike Renzella
The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA—James Bradbury, owner of Haldimand 3D Printing and Manufacturing in Cayuga, is tired of the pandemic. Inspired by Toronto-based Adamson Barbecue restaurant owner Adam Skelly’s refusal to shut down, Bradbury made the following announcement on social media November 27: “My company … refuses to comply with any further restrictions and will not be adhering to any new lockdowns.”
Earlier this year, Bradbury had responded to a call for help from Ontario Premier Doug Ford to restructure his business and focus on producing personal protective equipment (PPE) for the medical industry. However, as the pandemic continued, Bradbury began to feel the Province was not treating small businesses fairly: “(They’re) forcing mom and pop shops to be closed or heavily restricted while Walmart and Costco can sell the exact same product in much more crowded environments with almost zero repercussions.”
Furthermore, Bradbury is upset he has not been paid any compensation by the government for the cost of retooling: “Over $55 million was allocated, and yet every company we have contacted that was confirmed approved, including ourselves, has not had the cost of retooling or any expenses covered as promised.”
Bradbury claims his company completed the online application through Ontario Together and they received an approval within two weeks.
“I asked the representative if we were going to discuss rates to cover at least the materials and he said that another person would call me and discuss that with me,” said Bradbury. “Our company then proceeded to make contact as instructed with the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Shanker Nesathurai. He then further instructed us on what type of PPE he required and informed us how it would be distributed to every hospital.”
Haldimand 3D Printing and Manufacturing got to work making scrubs, medical gowns, caps, face shields, and fabric masks with a removable micro fibre.
Bradbury said that at their height of operations, they had over 2,000 volunteers and 12 employees involved. They distributed 22,000 masks, 2,000 shields, 200 scrubs, 300 gowns, and 500 nurse’s caps.
“Our goal was never to profit from this crisis, but to at least cover our expenses,” said Bradbury. “After the first month of production and not receiving any replies from the government regarding payment, we reached out to our local MPP Toby Barrett to see if he would be able to clear the situation up.”
Barrett made an inquiry on behalf of Bradbury, which led to a visit from a government representative in July. He claims that her investigation discovered an error which had blocked the payment, and that he was owed for his services, but she could not find any money allocated for the project: “I tried to explain to her that I cannot continue making PPE if I am not at least having my expenses covered.”
Bradbury says that Barrett, who had been an active volunteer in helping to distribute the PPE, reached out directly to Premier Ford about the situation, but was directed to another department and no resolution has been found.
“All my employees were laid off and some tried to stay on as volunteers as long as possible because they believed Ford was not going to let us down. As a direct result of the job losses and the financial strife due to the COVID lockdowns, three of my close friends and former employees have attempted suicide this year,” said Bradbury. “I have come very close to losing my company that I built when I was just a kid from the ground up…. From this point forward Haldimand 3D Printing will be moving back to what it used to make in order to try to rebuild.”
In addition to his above experiences, Bradbury believes COVID-19 numbers have been “artificially inflated” by attributing deaths from unrelated issues, such as motor vehicle accidents, to COVID-19.
“We live in a capitalist society; if people feel safe enough to shop at Walmart why not let them shop at your local store?” asserted Bradbury, who refers to Adam Skelly as a hero.
“I discussed it with the remaining staff, and we all agreed to remove all mandatory restrictions and allow any customers or employees to choose for themselves what level, if any, of protection they want,” he concluded. “We are fully prepared to defend the legal rights of our customers and employees. Everyone in my company has been briefed on both the medical and legal risks that may be involved, and we all agreed that this would be the best course moving forward.”