indicatorThe Owl

Personal protective equipment by the numbers

About two-thirds of Alberta businesses need PPE to operate in accordance with COVID-related public health guidelines

By ATB Economics 14 October 2020 1 min read

Statistics Canada’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Survey provides one way to assess the impact of the pandemic on our lives and economy.

Not including public sector entities such as hospitals and schools, about two-thirds (67 per cent) of Alberta businesses need PPE to operate in accordance with COVID-related public health guidelines. The national figure is about the same at 70 per cent.

Not surprisingly, businesses in some industries are more likely to need PPE to operate. About 95 per cent of private businesses in the health care and social assistance sector require PPE compared to 47 per cent in the mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction sector. (Note: These statistics are for Canada as a whole due to data quality issues at the provincial level.)

Unfortunately, we don’t have comparable numbers from before the pandemic, but it’s a safe bet that the usage of PPE is way up.

On a monthly basis, Alberta businesses used an estimated 43 million individual disinfectant wipes in August, over 26 million pairs of gloves (both medical and non-medical), almost 11 million masks (both medical and non-medical) and about 500,000 litres of hand sanitizer.

Concern regarding the availability of PPE was lower in August than in July with the proportion of Canadian businesses expecting to have shortages of PPE within the next three months going from 33.4 per cent to 21.2 per cent. With cases on the rise, fears about the availability of PPE may also have increased since the summer.

Alberta businesses used an estimated 43 million individual disinfectant wipes in August

Alberta businesses used an estimated 43 million individual disinfectant wipes in August


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