Woman washing her hands

Three Mauricie businesses mobilize to respond to COVID-19


Business: Entreprise Prémont, Textiles Patlin inc. et Laboratoires Choisy ltée

Region: Mauricie

Program: Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI)

The financial assistance granted has enabled: the acquisition of digital equipment

Three businesses in the Maskinongé RCM in the Mauricie region have been able to hold their own in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic. They all have one point in common: innovating to ensure business continuity.

Entreprise Prémont: Manufacturing Quebec surgical masks

In March 2020, entrepreneurs in the region brought their expertise together to create a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant for single-use surgical and procedural masks that meet Health Canada standards.

Within a few weeks, Louiseville-based Entreprise Prémont quickly established itself on the market with deliveries of over 100 million masks mainly in the health sector. In addition to hospitals, schools and government institutions, the business includes CHU de Québec, CN and Rio Tinto among its clients. The public can also procure masks through the business’s website.

Producing masks at the Louiseville plant in January 2021
Photo credit: Entreprise Prémont.
Producing masks at the Louiseville plant in January 2021.

“What makes our mask so unique is that it uses the lightweight, hypoallergenic HuCareTM membrane, which keeps moisture away from the mouth and makes breathing easier. This makes all the difference when you have to wear a mask over long periods. We always orient our decisions to consider, first and foremost, the human being behind the mask.”

Geneviève Hardy, Vice-President and Founder.

Entreprise Prémont is currently producing three to five million surgical masks per week. This production pace makes it competitive against Asian suppliers. The business also relies on a solid network of suppliers to ensure high-volume production without the risk of inventory ruptures on raw materials.

Humask-Pro VisionTM: The human being behind the mask

Geneviève Hardy
Photo credit: Entreprise Prémont.
Geneviève Hardy, Vice-President and Founder of Entreprise Prémont, wearing the very first see-through mask meeting Health Canada standards.

In December 2020, the business launched the first mask in Canada with a see-through window, the Humask-Pro VisionTM. This anti-fogging, anti-reflective mask makes life easier for the hard-of-hearing, who need to read lips and see a speaker’s face. Entreprise Prémont has also concluded an agreement with Audition Québec, which will receive a portion of the profits from sales of this mask.

Within a few months, Entreprise Prémont created over 100 jobs in the Maskinongé RCM, creating positive impacts in its wake with other local suppliers.

Projects under development

With the dazzling success of its masks, Entreprise Prémont does not intend to stop there. It is currently working to penetrate the U.S. and European markets with its Humask-Pro VisionTM. Also conscious of the importance of the environment, it is working on developing a biodegradable membrane and on manufacturing its products with 100% Quebec-sourced materials.

“The environment is a very important dimension for us. In fact, our building is heated in part through a solar wall. It is important for us to reduce our carbon footprint,” concludes Geneviève Hardy.

Choisy Laboratories: A key player in the fight against COVID-19

With its range of high-performance, eco-friendly products to disinfect surfaces and ensure hand hygiene, Choisy Laboratories (a division of Kersia) quickly found itself at the centre of the storm caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Since the start of the pandemic, employees have been at the heart of the business’s concerns. It was essential to communicate regularly with employees, to manage certain tasks through telework and to reorganize the tasks of staff on the ground to meet the urgent needs around public health.

The business quickly encountered several challenges, including more difficult access to raw materials, the addition of new container formats and a very high demand for its disinfecting products. In no time, Choisy Laboratories established a new production line and a new shift to increase its production capacity and thereby meet its clients’ needs.

“The agility of our entire Canadian team and its great ability to adapt explain how our business was able to meet the exponential demand of the market while also accompanying clients who have been loyal to us for many years,” says François Charles Sévigny, Vice-President Marketing, Canada.

Employees’ work recognized

Manufacturing disinfectants at the Louiseville plant.
Photo credit: Choisy Laboratories.
Manufacturing disinfectants at the Louiseville plant.

Following the example of other divisions within the Kersia group—one of whose four founding values is sharing—Choisy Laboratories highlighted in December 2020 the excellent work and commitment of all of its employees, who have doubled down since the pandemic began. An exceptional gesture appreciated and commended by all.

Choisy Laboratories produces tens of thousands of litres of hygiene and disinfecting products every day at its Louiseville plant mainly for its clients in Quebec, the Maritimes and Ontario. It is now accelerating its development across the rest of Canada, where it already has several clients.

Patlin Textiles: Responding to the shortage of medical protective clothing

Founded in 1991 in Saint-Paulin, Patlin Textiles is one of those rare Canadian businesses specializing in the textile industry. The family business, run by Patrice Chevalier and Sonia Chevalier representing the second generation, is recognized for making window and bed coverings for the hotel, institutional and residential industries.

Patlin Textiles stands out mainly due to its prints sublimated on fabric. Using a printer and a calender, it is able to quickly meet its clients’ needs and eliminate any inventory. In fact, its slogan The only limit is your imagination summarizes the business’s philosophy well: “You have an idea, we have the solution.”

Medical protective clothing produced urgently

Producing medical protective clothing.
Photo credit: Patlin Textiles.
Producing medical protective clothing.

Right in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis, the business called on its local suppliers to help the health network. For the business, there was no question of closing its doors temporarily. The 50 or so employees did not hesitate to roll up their sleeves to take on the challenge. In record time, over 350,000 gowns, 40,000 pairs of pants and shirts and 4000 hospital curtains were produced locally and distributed through the health network and among the offices of health specialists (dentists, physiotherapists, osteopaths, therapists, etc.) across Quebec and Canada.

The employees’ commitment enabled the business to pursue its activities without interruption while following public health rules. “I am very proud of my team and of Patlin Textiles’ integrity. We took on a sizeable challenge. We mobilized quickly and we were able to find the right partners to meet the demand. We did not spare any effort to help Quebec fight the virus, and the results are there,” highlights Patrice Chevalier, President of Patlin Textiles.

Projects under way

With demand for its products for the decoration sector very high, Patlin Textiles has returned to a normal pace of production. It will soon invest in technological equipment to automate a part of its production and in a transactional site.

A promising future and new markets to conquer

With the manufacture not only of masks but also of medical protective clothing and disinfecting products, the Maskinongé RCM region has been able to benefit from the economic opportunities generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 100 jobs have been created and maintained thanks to these experienced, innovative entrepreneurs.

The year 2021 looks promising for these three Mauricie businesses. With order books already filling up, Entreprise Prémont, Choisy Laboratories and Patlin Textiles have the wind in their sails as they meet the needs of the health community and contribute to a thriving regional economy.

Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions is proud to support these businesses as vectors of growth and wealth in Quebec, which are helping in the fight against COVID-19.

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