KITCHENER -- “This is amazing.”

That was Doug Ford’s reaction Friday as he toured The Canadian Shield factory in Waterloo.

It was one of four local businesses the premier visited, and his second stop in Waterloo Region this week.

The Canadian Shield was developed by InkSmith in response to the growing need for personal protective equipment. As cases of COVID-19 accelerated, the company pivoted their 3D printing business into making face shields for medical workers and the public.

Since the start of the pandemic, the company has produced millions of face shields.

During the premier’s visit on Friday, The Canadian Shield also revealed they’ve introduced a new product - surgical masks.

“We’ll make about 50 million masks a year with our current production facility,” said CEO Jeremy Hedges. “We’ll scale up to as many as 500 million a year as demand grows.”

Back in March, the company had 10 employees but they've now grown to approximately 300. With the introduction of their new surgical masks, The Canadian Shield says they’ll be doing more hiring in the near future.

“These folks have started up in the last three to four months and this is what’s they’ve created,” Ford touted.

After The Canadian Shield, the premier stopped at Medical Innovation Xchange in Kitchener where he met up with Vic Fedeli, the Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, as well as Ross Romano, the Minister of Colleges and Universities.

All three announced early details for an intellectual property action plan.

“They will ensure that, never again, will the people of our province fail to reap all of the benefits from the great research we do in our province that is funded by you, the people of our great province,” said Romano.

After the announcement, the premier made his way to the Waterloo Brewing Company’s facility in Kitchener. There, he marked Stage 3 of the province’s reopening plan by pouring the first pint of beer to be served indoors.

Ford’s last stop of the day was at the Frito-Lay plant in Cambridge, where he celebrated the local company’s success.