Testing for COVID-19: Test supply
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What Canada is doing
Testing and screening, along with personal protective measures and vaccination, are important tools to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants.
Provinces and territories are responsible for testing. This responsibility includes managing and distributing COVID-19 rapid tests within their jurisdiction based on local priorities, epidemiology and regulations. People living in Canada should consult their provincial or territorial COVID-19 website for details on availability.
The Government of Canada manages a federal inventory of rapid tests to prepare for emergencies. We also continue to make rapid tests from that inventory available for free to provinces and territories to distribute when their supplies are depleted.
Additional tests are donated to federal organisations, charities, non-profits and public institutions.
Health Canada continues to explore options to deploy and divest surplus tests. This includes looking at donating surplus tests internationally to reduce wastage and to make the best use of public funds.
The Government of Canada only disposes of surplus tests when:
- all other opportunities have been exhausted
- tests cannot be distributed because they are damaged or expired
Disposal is done following sound financial and environmental principles.
Health Canada reviews manufacturers’ applications to assess the safety, effectiveness and quality of the testing devices submitted before they’re authorized for sale in Canada.
Health Canada has authorized several types of COVID-19 testing devices. Authorized testing devices can be found on the List of authorized testing devices or the Medical Devices Active Licence Listing (MDALL).
In all cases, manufacturers must prove that the test is safe and effective for its intended use before we will authorize it. For example, for self-testing kits, the manufacturer must prove that a person can use their test safely and effectively without being supervised by a health care professional.
Rapid tests are medical devices, which means they have an expiry date. This is known as a shelf-life. Health Canada authorizes the shelf-life of rapid tests and has granted several shelf-life extensions.
The expiry date is determined by the manufacturer and is printed on the labelling during the manufacturing process. However, expiry dates may be impacted by shelf-life extensions even after products have been distributed. Contact the manufacturer of your rapid test to confirm its expiry date.
Rapid test distribution
On behalf of the federal government, Public Services and Procurement Canada purchased hundreds of millions of COVID-19 rapid tests to distribute across the country. These purchases ensured that Canada could increase testing capacity with authorized, proven and effective technologies. Find out about our rapid test agreements and the types of COVID-19 rapid tests purchased.
We based our procurement decisions on demand projections, in consultation with provinces and territories, and to have enough supply in the event of an emergency.
Canada contributed millions of free tests, including more than:
- 680 million free tests to provincial and territorial rapid testing programs
- 13 million free tests to private-sector workplaces
- 8 million free tests to vulnerable populations, including Northern, remote and isolated communities
These rapid tests have been used by provinces and territories in hospitals and other health care settings, schools and workplaces. They have also been used by communities and the general population.
Our federal supply of rapid tests also meant that the provinces and territories could build up significant reserves to prepare for a resurgence of COVID-19.
There is a delay in reporting the deployment of COVID-19 rapid tests due to the time it takes for tests to be:
- shipped and delivered to provinces and territories
- distributed throughout each jurisdiction
The tables on this page show the number of COVID-19 rapid tests that have been:
- received from suppliers and shipped to provinces and territories as of July 10, 2023
- distributed by provincial and territorial governments as of June 16, 2023
- distributed by the federal government to workplaces, community groups and non-profit organizations as of July 4, 2023
These numbers are updated regularly.
Shipment and distribution of COVID-19 rapid tests in Canada:
Shipments in Canada by company/product
|CompanyFootnote * name
|Tests received from suppliers
|Tests shipped to provinces/territories
|Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC
|Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test
|Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC
|ID Now Covid-19
|Artron Laboratories Inc
|ARTRON COVID-19 ANTIGEN TEST
|Becton Dickinson Canada Inc.
|BD Veritor™ System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2
|Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen Rapid test Device
|Istatis COVID-19 Antigen Home Test
|CanAm Scientific Inc.
|SARS-COV-2 Rapid Antigen Nasal SD Biosensor
|Lucira Health Inc.
|Lucira CHECK✓IT COVID-19 Test Kit
|ACON Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test
|Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid
|Precision Biomonitoring Inc. (Canada)
|Triplelock SARS-CoV-2 Tests
|Quidel Canada ULC
|Sofia SARS Antigen FIA
|Quidel Canada ULC
|QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID Test
|SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Self Test NASAL
|Switch Health Holdings Inc.
|SD Biosensor, Inc Standard Q Covid 19 AG Nasal Test
|COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test / Assuretech
|2San Healthcare Group Inc.
|PCL Self-Test Covid-19 Ag
Shipments to, distribution and inventory by provinces and territories
|Tests shipped to province/territory
|Tests distributed by province/territory
|Estimated inventory by province/territory
|Newfoundland and Labrador
|Prince Edward Island
|Note: The difference between tests shipped to and deployed by provinces/territories may be an under- or over-estimate of actual inventories. This is because some provinces and territories may procure their own tests, and reporting on deployment varies.
As of October 24, 2023
|Private-sector workplacesFootnote *
|Federal departments/ agencies, RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), workplaces
|Community groups and non-profit organizationsFootnote **
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