Aug. 17, 2020
When Magna International Inc. contributed to Seneca’s Campaign for King Campus in 2016, the company wanted to support students who dedicate their education and careers to helping others.
It’s no surprise then that the Canadian auto parts giant has shifted gears in the wake of a global pandemic to making masks, face shields, covers and gowns.
“Our plants in Mexico, Canada, US and Europe are making 2.5 million masks each month,” said Frank Seguin, Magna’s Executive Vice-President, Corporate Projects and Strategy Development. “If there is still a demand, we will continue to produce. In Canada, we’ve donated the masks to the provincial government and municipal entities like nursing homes, hospitals, police and other front-line services.”
Thanks to Magna’s $3-million gift over five years — the largest-ever donation given to Seneca — the aptly named Magna Hall at King Campus has had the capacity to welcome 1,450 more students annually, increasing the population of full-time students at King to more than 5,000.
Since Magna Hall opened in 2018, more caring professionals have graduated from King Campus to work as nurses, early childhood educators, police officers, social workers and therapists. Today, hundreds of Seneca alumni are working on the front lines and behind the scenes in the fight against COVID-19.
“We are extremely proud of our grads and grateful for donors like Magna,” said Dean Hughes, Executive Director of Advancement & Alumni. “Not only is Magna supporting the next generation of front-line workers, but they are setting an example to inspire others to help those in need.”
While things aren’t business as usual by any means, Magna has more than half of its staff working on site now and clients are beginning to ramp up with more orders. The company has taken great care to prepare its employees with personal protective equipment (PPE), including hundreds of thousands of masks, and a 65-page “playbook” for maintaining a safe workplace during COVID-19.
It has also developed an ozone cleaning machine that sanitizes masks for re-use, purchased machinery to produce Level 2 masks and supported three ventilator manufacturers with engineering, parts and assembly.
“COVID-19 has presented the opportunity for us to think differently about how and where our employees can work and ways our senior executives can communicate with their teams,” Mr. Seguin said. “Our CEO and president hold monthly communication sessions and virtual meetings are working well.”