As the popularity of facemasks continues to rise, some Ontario companies are also jacking up the prices. According to 3M, one company was caught selling N95 masks in Ontario for five times the original price. Now, the company is being sued by the manufacturer for selling the products under their name. 

3M, American manufacturer of the N95 surgical masks, announced a lawsuit has been filed against an Ontario company accused of claiming affiliation with the medical supplier so that it could sell the masks at ridiculously high prices.

In a press release, the Minnesota-based company stated that a company called Caonic Systems Inc. registered a web domain on Shopify to sell the masks, which it claimed had been made by 3M.

It has not yet been determined whether or not the masks that were being sold were actually authentic. 

CP24 reported that the Ontario company is accused of marketing the masks on several different sites for $17 a piece, which is five times higher than the average retail price.

"At 3M we are working hard to continue to increase the production of respirators for the healthcare workers who need them the most in the fight against COVID-19," explained Denise Rutherford, 3M Senior Vice President of Corporate Affairs, in the press release.

"We are dedicated to putting a stop to those who are trying to cash in on this crisis and have taken legal action when we've identified illegal behaviour in New York, California, Florida, Texas, and now Canada," she added.

3M has made a point to keep their prices for respirators and surgical masks the same, despite the increasing demand for the item.

"3M has not changed the prices it charges for respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak," read a statement from the company.

"The company is working with online retailers and technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook to identify and remove counterfeiters and price gougers from their sites and refer them to law enforcement authorities."

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on March 28 that his government would be creating a site and a hotline to encourage people to report all price-gouging incidents related to COVID-19 across the province.

It seems like many companies across the province were raising their prices as an estimated 8,400 complaints were made as of April 1, just days after launching the initiative.

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