WINNIPEG -- The province of Manitoba has given a $422,000 grant to a Canadian manufacturer to help Manitoba businesses access non-medical grade personal protective equipment through an online marketplace.

"Our government has heard from the business community that they need help to access supplies needed to enable them to open and operate safely during the pandemic,” Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said in a news release on Wednesday.

The grant goes to Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME), which has commissioned North Forge Technology Exchange to create an online marketplace. Businesses will be able to access listings from suppliers of non-medical grade PPE and other supplies needed. The province said this marketplace will also help suppliers who have retooled their operations to produce PPE and are now looking for a new customer base.

The Manitoba and Winnipeg Chambers of Commerce and CME will monitor the platform for spam and abuse and will ensure listings of any medical-grade PPE are sent to the government's PPE portal.

The province said the marketplace has encryption used by financial and government agencies to protect the businesses and suppliers using the site.