SURREY, B.C. -- A Surrey company claiming to be the first in B.C. to manufacture N95 respirator masks says it is ready to begin supplying front-line health-care workers — pending approval from Health Canada.

Eternity Medical Equipment set up shop in April and spent the last several months building a $500,000 clean room, with two assembly lines capable of pumping out 2.5 million masks per month.

“So far, we still didn’t get a Health Canada approval yet, even though we’ve done a lot of testing of filtration over 99 per cent,” said CEO Jeffrey Wang. “But there’s still a lot of regulation from Health Canada. We need to get approval.”

Tuesday morning the company invited media to a grand opening ceremony and tour of its 13,000-square-foot South Surrey facility.

Eternity Medical employs 17 people in the manufacturing process and says that number could double, or triple, if the company decides to add a second, or even third, shift.

“I’m really excited because this is a Canadian product, made right here in Surrey,” said City Coun. Allison Patton, who attended on behalf of the City of Surrey. “It’s at a very important time when we need these types of PPE.”

Wang said the company is anxiously awaiting the Health Canada approval so they can begin to fill some of the demand COVID-19 has created for N95 respirators.

“Some nurses wear one mask per day. So they reuse the mask over and over. There’s definitely a shortage of masks,” he said.

While awaiting approval, the company has donated 14,000 masks to the B.C./Yukon Command of the Royal Canadian Legion to distribute to veterans and staff at local legions.

The Public Health Agency of Canada has not yet responded to a CTV News request for information about the approval process and the status of Eternity Medical Equipment’s application.