About the free rapid antigen test initiative: Pharmacies
Canada is making free rapid antigen tests available to businesses and non-profit organizations with close-contact employees through our Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Screening in the Workplace initiative. Through this initiative, pharmacies can become rapid test distributors to small and medium-sized businesses and non-profit organizations that want to implement workplace screening for their employees.
On this page
- What's required of you
- Training resource requirements
- How to order kits
- When kits are picked up
- Validating number of tests requested
- Reporting instructions
- Workplace screening for your employees
What's required of you
As part of this initiative, pharmacies must:
- agree to the terms and conditions of the initiative
- provide training resources to participating small and medium-sized organizations
- log on to the Government of Canada portal to report on which businesses have picked up kits from your location
- charge no more than $14 per kit as a training and handling fee ($4 goes to the distributor)
If you are part of a pharmacy chain, please contact your head office for details on how to participate in this initiative.
Training resource requirements
Training resources must include:
- our page on rapid antigen tests for screening, which talks about the benefits of screening, frequency of screening and any provincial guidelines that must be followed
- instructions of how to perform an Abbott Panbio rapid antigen test
- how to interpret screening results
- how to dispose of kits
How to order kits
If you're an independent pharmacy, your primary distributor will contact you on how to order kits. Distributors currently enrolled in the initiative are:
- Kohl and Frisch
- Imperial Distributors Canada Inc.
Note: Only pharmacies that have registered on the Government of Canada portal will be contacted. You will be required to sign additional terms and conditions with your distributor.
If you're part of a pharmacy chain, ask your corporate office how you can order kits.
When kits are picked up
Small and medium-sized organizations are encouraged to call their local pharmacy ahead of time to ensure pharmacies have time to prepare their order. If an organization has not registered through the portal, pharmacy staff can direct them to the Government of Canada portal.
When a representative of a small and medium-sized organization comes to pick up test kits, pharmacists must validate the information provided. Pharmacists must:
- ask to see the organization's confirmation email, which includes:
- first and last name of representative
- organization's legal name
- CRA business number
- number of employees
- number of kits requested
- a letter of authorization if a representative is picking up the kits (optional)
- check that the name on their government-issued ID (such as a driver's licence) matches the confirmation email
- verify the document with their organization number and name (for example, T2 notice of assessment) and confirm this matches their confirmation email
Validating number of tests being requested
The pharmacist can only dispense the number of kits required based on the number of participating employees who are indicated in the confirmation email.
The pharmacist must also validate the number of kits being requested, which will be indicated in the confirmation email.
Participating employees should be screened 2 times every week. There are 25 tests in each kit. We recommend dispensing 2 weeks' supply. Small and medium-sized organizations located in remote regions may obtain up to 4 weeks' supply at one time.
On average, we expect about 20% of employees to participate in the initiative.
- Maria's Bagel Store has 30 employees who will be tested 2 times a week (30 x 2 = 60).
- Each kit has 25 tests (60/25 =2.5 kits).
- The pharmacy may dispense a 2-week supply (2.5 kits x 2 = 5 kits).
- We recommend dispensing between up to 5 kits.
Small and medium-sized organizations may reorder kits through the registration portal. To order additional test kits, they must report on the total tests used and provide the number of presumptive positive results, negative and inconclusive results. Small and medium-sized organizations will receive a new confirmation email and number each time they request further tests.
Pharmacies are required to report on which confirmation numbers have received tests from their store and how many kits were dispensed by confirmation number. Pharmacies are also required to log organization and product information in case of recalls.
- visit the Government of Canada portal
- log in and record the confirmation number as well as how many kits were dispensed
Pharmacies will need to record organization and product information into their internal pharmacy system in case of recalls. You will need to record the following:
- kit lot number
- organization name
- representative name
- phone number
If you have any questions, please contact us at: email@example.com
Workplace screening for your employees
Pharmacies can also implement workplace screening programs for their own employees.
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