Testing for COVID-19: Increasing testing supply

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What Canada is doing

Canada is mobilizing industry and providing support for research, market approval, manufacturing and access to medical supplies. We're working proactively with companies that are developing new and innovative testing technologies. We're also engaging with international regulators to share knowledge about new developments related to testing.

Increasing testing options

Health Canada reviews testing devices to assess their safety, effectiveness and quality before they're authorized for sale in Canada. For a test to be authorized by Health Canada, it must be submitted for review by a manufacturer. To date, Health Canada has authorized a number of different COVID-19 tests. We also continue to expedite the review of COVID-19 tests, including new testing options.

Health Canada is currently prioritizing the review of:

Health Canada has received a number of antigen test applications that are under priority review. Antigen tests detect specific proteins on the surface of the virus and provide rapid results. Health Canada hasn't authorized any antigen tests at this time.

A small number of saliva tests have been submitted to Health Canada and are under priority review. Health Canada hasn't authorized any tests for use with saliva at this time.

Health Canada will expedite the review of any new testing technologies submitted by manufacturers, including at-home test kits (also known as "self-testing"). For at-home test kits, the manufacturer must provide data to show the test is safe and effective for Canadians to use without health care professional supervision.

In all cases, companies must provide evidence that the test is accurate and reliable before Health Canada will authorize it. Health Canada has provided guidance to manufacturers on the authorization requirements for different types of tests such as antibody tests and antigen tests.

Supporting provincial and territorial COVID-19 testing capacity

The federal government is providing $4.28 billion to the provinces and territories. This money is to help them conduct testing, perform contact tracing and share public health data that will help fight the pandemic. The goal is to ensure they have the capacity to test up to 200,000 people each day, nationwide.

Canada is also providing funding and support to improve and modernize data management across Canada. This support is to help all levels of government coordinate their efforts to contain the virus.

The table below shows the current capacity for each province and territory compared to the capacity target agreed to under the Safe Restart Agreement.

The national capacity target of about 200,000 tests each day is based on modelling. This modelling exercise indicates this capacity is enough to meet the expected demand for testing.

Provincial and territorial COVID-19 testing capacity

Average number of people tested per day as of October 15, 2020

Newfoundland and Labrador: Target 2,500 - 3,000Footnote *
Footnote *

Target updated October 6 at the request of Newfoundland and Labrador

Return to footnote * referrer

COVID-19 testing capacity for Newfoundland and Labrador (Target 2,500 - 3,000Footnote *)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 1,450 236
2020-09-10 1,450 206
2020-09-17 1,450 317
2020-09-24 1,450 421
2020-10-01 1,450 430
2020-10-08 1,450 454
2020-10-15 1,450 314
Prince Edward Island: Target 835
COVID-19 testing capacity for Prince Edward Island (Target 835)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 350 304
2020-09-10 430 248
2020-09-17 350 312
2020-09-24 350 393
2020-10-01 400 364
2020-10-08 400 306
2020-10-15 400 288
Nova Scotia: Target 2,500
COVID-19 testing capacity for Nova Scotia (Target 2,500)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 1,500 650
2020-09-10 1,500 559
2020-09-17 1,500 522
2020-09-24 1,500 664
2020-10-01 1,500 759
2020-10-08 1,500 592
2020-10-15 1,500 510
New Brunswick: Target 2,500 - 3,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for New Brunswick (Target 2,500 - 3,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 1,500 312
2020-09-10 1,500 294
2020-09-17 1,500 326
2020-09-24 1,500 510
2020-10-01 1,500 687
2020-10-08 1,500 512
2020-10-15 1,500 675
Quebec: Target 35,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for Quebec (Target 35,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 20,000 8,796
2020-09-10 20,000 9,796
2020-09-17 20,000 14,951
2020-09-24 20,000 16,684
2020-10-01 20,000 16,348
2020-10-08 20,000 15,164
2020-10-15 20,000 13,492
Ontario: Target 78,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for Ontario (Target 78,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 35,108 25,957
2020-09-10 39,690 23,926
2020-09-17 42,434 29,004
2020-09-24 42,816 34,119
2020-10-01 42,942 39,037
2020-10-08 50,692 41,179
2020-10-15 51,397 38,934
Manitoba: Target 3,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for Manitoba (Target 3,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 3,000 1,396
2020-09-10 3,000 1,301
2020-09-17 3,000 1,340
2020-09-24 3,000 1,453
2020-10-01 3,000 2,052
2020-10-08 3,000 1,950
2020-10-15 3,000 2,489
Saskatchewan: Target 4,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for Saskatchewan (Target 4,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 1,800 985
2020-09-10 1,800 1,162
2020-09-17 1,800 1,190
2020-09-24 1,800 1,552
2020-10-01 1,800 1,596
2020-10-08 1,800 1,523
2020-10-15 1,800 1,561
Alberta: Target 22,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for Alberta (Target 22,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 12,000 7,037
2020-09-10 12,000 7,538
2020-09-17 12,000 8,819
2020-09-24 12,000 8,055
2020-10-01 15,500 15,500
2020-10-08 22,000 15,500
2020-10-15 22,000 14,481Footnote *
Footnote *

Single day number Oct 15.

Return to footnote * referrer

British Columbia: Target 20,000
COVID-19 testing capacity for British Columbia (Target 20,000)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 7,842 3,503
2020-09-10 8,581 3,608
2020-09-17 7,996 3,820
2020-09-24 9,633 4,483
2020-10-01 9,714 5,540
2020-10-08 10,506 6,567
2020-10-15 10,586 6,513
Yukon: Target 160
COVID-19 testing capacity for Yukon (Target 160)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 n/a 27
2020-09-10 n/a 24
2020-09-17 n/a 28
2020-09-24 n/a 30
2020-10-01 150 24
2020-10-08 150 19
2020-10-15 150 19
Northwest Territories: Target 225
COVID-19 testing capacity for Northwest Territories (Target 225)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 n/a 18
2020-09-10 n/a 15
2020-09-17 n/a 35
2020-09-24 n/a 70
2020-10-01 48 36
2020-10-08 48 20
2020-10-15 48 12
Nunavut: Target n/a
COVID-19 testing capacity for Nunavut (Target n/a)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 n/a 22
2020-09-10 n/a 17
2020-09-17 n/a 22
2020-09-24 n/a 21
2020-10-01 n/a 22
2020-10-08 n/a 23
2020-10-15 80 24
Canada: Target 169,720 - 170,220
COVID-19 testing capacity for Canada (Target 169,720- 170-220)
Date Actual provincial and territorial testing capacity as reported on Average number of people tested per day
2020-09-03 84,550 49,243
2020-09-10 89,951 48,694
2020-09-17 92,030 60,686
2020-09-24 94,049 68,455
2020-10-01 82,504 82,395
2020-10-08 113,046 83,807
2020-10-15 113,911 79,312

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