COVID-19 rapid testing and screening in workplaces: What employers should know
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Benefits of rapid testing
Rapid tests are important screening tools to help you protect your employees, customers, their families and the community where they live.
Not everyone who has COVID-19 will show symptoms. Studies suggest that people without symptoms may cause up to 50% of COVID-19 transmission. You can help reduce the risk of outbreaks by regularly testing and screening your employees.
Regular rapid tests provide an extra layer of defence against the spread of the virus. Along with public health measures such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, wearing a mask and vaccination, workplace screening will help to:
- slow the spread of COVID-19
- keep your employees, their families and your community safe
- safely reopen the economy
To ensure workers have quick and easy access to COVID-19 rapid tests, the Government of Canada, some provincial and territorial governments, and distribution partners are providing free rapid tests to organizations for use in their workplace screening initiatives.
Rapid tests are fast, easy and safe. They provide results in 15 minutes.
Rapid test kit access and conditions
Canada is making free rapid tests available to businesses and non-profit organizations through our Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Screening in the Workplace initiative.
Eligible organizations must agree to the following conditions:
- keep rapid tests and not resell them
- limit use to within Canada
- screen employees according to the guidelines provided by relevant provincial and territorial governments
- demonstrate they are using these tests before further supplies are provided
- collect and report on usage
Large businesses with 200 or more employees could be eligible to receive free rapid tests from Health Canada.
Small and medium-sized businesses and organizations can also access rapid tests through one of our distribution partners:
- Shoppers Drug Mart locations in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario
- other pharmacies across Canada
- chambers of commerce in Ontario, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia
- through provincial and territorial governments
Non-profit, charitable and Indigenous community organizations can request rapid tests through the Canadian Red Cross.
Infographic for employees
Share with your employees to help them understand:
- why they should participate in workplace testing
- how rapid tests work
- what to expect after testing
- How business and employees can stay safe while operating during COVID-19
- About the free rapid test program for small and medium-sized organizations
- Testing devices for COVID-19
- Off-label advertising and sale of rapid tests under workplace screening program: Interim enforcement approach
- COVID-19 testing, screening and contact tracing
- CCOHS Infographic: COVID-19 Rapid Testing in the Workplace
- Workplace screening success stories
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