Government of Canada introduces legislation to increase access to rapid testing across the country

News release

January 31, 2022 | Ottawa, ON | Health Canada

Testing and screening, in combination with local public health measures and vaccination, are important tools to protect Canadians and limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants of concern. 

Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, introduced Bill C-10 - An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19 in Parliament to provide Health Canada with the statutory authority to purchase and distribute across the country up to $2.5 billion worth of COVID-19 rapid tests. With this funding, the Government of Canada would put in place critical contracts in a highly competitive global market, to purchase sufficient quantities of rapid tests to meet the continued demand across the country.

Bill C-10 - An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19 would:

  • Build on the commitments in the December 14, 2021, Economic and Fiscal Update, in which the Government of Canada proposed $1.7 billion to increase access to COVID-19 rapid testing for everyone in Canada;
  • Allow Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to continue supporting provinces and territories by securing the COVID-19 rapid tests they need;
  • Continue to partner with the Canadian Red Cross to deliver rapid tests – free of charge – to community organizations; and
  • Continue to support small, medium and large businesses and organizations, as well as federal workplace screening programs through direct delivery and through partners such as Chambers of Commerce, and pharmacies.


“As COVID-19 remains a global threat, driven by the highly transmissible Omicron variant, the demand for rapid tests has increased worldwide. Keeping Canadians safe has always been our number one priority, and rapid tests are an important part of that strategy. This Bill will allow Health Canada to buy the necessary rapid tests so that jurisdictions across the country can identify cases early, break the chain of transmissions, and reduce outbreaks.”

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health 

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has provided $3 billion via the Safe Restart Agreement to provinces and territories to increase capacity to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, perform contact tracing and share public health data. This funding provided a foundation to help jurisdictions slow the spread of the virus. 

  • In addition to providing free COVID-19 rapid tests, the Government of Canada has provided $6.6 million to the Canadian Red Cross to distribute tests to charities and non-profits, and $8.1 million to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to support distribution to small to medium sized businesses through local chambers. 

  • Organizations with 200 or more employees, including federally regulated businesses are able to receive free COVID-19 rapid tests directly from the Government of Canada.

  • In partnership with provinces and territories, small and medium-sized businesses and organizations can also access rapid tests through distribution partners:

    • Independent pharmacies, Rexall, Sobeys and Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, British Columbia, PEI and Northwest Territories,
    • Chambers of Commerce in Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick, and Saskatchewan. 

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Marie-France Proulx
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos
Minister of Health

Media Relations
Health Canada

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