Clean Works president Mark VanderVeen says Doug Ford didn’t seem worried when staff at his company placed the premier’s cellphone inside one of the devices it developed to sanitize N95 masks.

VanderVeen assured Ford his BlackBerry would come out the other side in perfect working order with 99.99 per cent fewer microorganisms on it, “and he just took our word for it.”

Earlier this year when Canadian health-care workers were experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Beamsville company reworked its technology made for sanitizing tender fruit and vegetables to be used to sanitize masks as well.

Clean Works staff soon realized the same Health Canada-approved device could be used for much more than allowing for safe reuse of disposable masks by decontaminating as many as 800 an hour.

As employers including Clean Works step up disinfectant protocols and measures to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, VenderVeen said sanitizing personal items of workers — including electronic devices such as cellphones — has become routine at the company.

“The employees come in and put their eyeglasses, their cellphones (into the machine) so they’re not bringing anything into the facility.”

Ford visited the facility Tuesday with Vic Fedeli, minister of economic development, job creation and trade, to announce a provincial investment of $2 million in Ontario Together funding to help the company invest in new equipment to increase the production of its Clean Flow Health Care Mini devices that eliminate 99.99 per cent of pathogens and viruses on surfaces.

Ford said Clean Works is one of thousands of businesses across the country “who answered the call and joined the fight against COVID-19.”

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