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:

Disposal is done following sound financial and environmental principles.

Testing options

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.

Expiry date

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:

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:

The tables on this page show the number of COVID-19 rapid tests that have been:

These numbers are updated regularly.

Shipment and distribution of COVID-19 rapid tests in Canada:

Shipments in Canada by company/product
Shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests in Canada
CompanyFootnote * name Product name Tests received from suppliers Tests shipped to provinces/territories
Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC Panbio COVID-19 Ag Rapid Test 152,036,460 125,812,148
Abbott Rapid Diagnostics ULC ID Now Covid-19 7,023,024 5,777,000
Artron Laboratories Inc ARTRON COVID-19 ANTIGEN TEST 48,702,801 43,208,181
Becton Dickinson Canada Inc. BD Veritor™ System for Rapid Detection of SARS-CoV-2 12,256,290 9,986,860
Btnx Inc Rapid Response COVID-19 Antigen Rapid test Device 404,050,760 372,439,945
BioLytical Istatis COVID-19 Antigen Home Test 5,000,015 4,999,800
CanAm Scientific Inc. SARS-COV-2 Rapid Antigen Nasal SD Biosensor 1,663,700 438,120
Lucira Health Inc. Lucira CHECK✓IT COVID-19 Test Kit 689,268 397,808
Maverin Inc. ACON Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Test 41,000,000 32,985,300
MSS Flowflex SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid 5,000,000 0
Precision Biomonitoring Inc. (Canada) Triplelock SARS-CoV-2 Tests 3,506,000 3,506,000
Quidel Canada ULC Sofia SARS Antigen FIA 850,000 73,200
Quidel Canada ULC QuickVue At-Home OTC COVID Test 16,500,000 6,242,150
Roche Diagnostics SD Biosensor SARS-CoV-2 Rapid Antigen Self Test NASAL 38,642,297 12,926,597
Switch Health Holdings Inc. SD Biosensor, Inc Standard Q Covid 19 AG Nasal Test 60,350,000 55,991,325
Trimedic Therapeutics COVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test / Assuretech 7,857,080 7,857,080
2San Healthcare Group Inc. PCL Self-Test Covid-19 Ag 250,000 240,750
Total 805,377,695 682,882,264


Footnote *

"Company" may refer to the manufacturer of the device or a third-party supplier.

Return to footnote * referrer

Shipments to, distribution and inventory by provinces and territories
Shipment of COVID-19 rapid tests to and distribution by provinces/territories
Province/territory Tests shipped to province/territory Tests distributed by province/territory Estimated inventory by province/territory
Alberta 77,604,516 44,544,846 33,059,670
British Columbia 84,136,366 54,993,451 29,142,915
Manitoba 24,626,907 17,654,825 6,972,082
New Brunswick 18,521,234 18,373,577 147,657
Newfoundland and Labrador 9,557,845 4,970,465 4,587,380
Nova Scotia 24,270,478 15,155,497 9,114,981
Northwest Territories 774,986 405,405 375,341
Nunavut 780,746 253,128 509,576
Ontario 264,028,391 207,792,575 56,309,016
Prince Edward Island 3,819,978 2,877,708 942,270
Quebec 142,278,152 101,514,185 40,763,967
Saskatchewan 31,760,783 26,567,808 5,192,975
Yukon 734,164 462,291 271,873
Total 682,882,264 495,565,761 187,389,703
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.
Federal allocation

As of October 24, 2023

Federal distribution of COVID-19 rapid tests to workplaces, community groups and non-profit organizations
Recipient Tests shipped
Private-sector workplacesFootnote * 14,000,070
Federal departments/ agencies, RCMP, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), workplaces 7,135,445
Community groups and non-profit organizationsFootnote ** 8,739,756
Total 29,875,271


Footnote *

Includes tests shipped directly from Health Canada to medium-large organizations and to participating pharmacy distributors for re-distribution to Small-Medium Enterprises (program suspended).

Return to footnote * referrer

Footnote **

Includes tests shipped to Canadian Red Cross and northern grocers for re-distribution to registered charities or non-profit organizations (for workplaces or individual distribution), gateway airports, and Northern, Remote and Isolated Communities, etc.

Return to footnote ** referrer

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