Learn about rapid antigen testing and find out if your organization is eligible to access free test kits.
What you need to do
Apply for the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP). The PASP provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and essential workplaces.
As announced on May 12, 2021, the application process is open to all organizations that are allowed to be open under current public health measures, and also require people to be physically present.
- notify their local Public Health Unit before testing begins
- must agree to the program terms and conditions
- review onboarding and training materials
- order free test kits from the province of Ontario
- report de-identified testing data to the province each week
- must properly handle and dispose of used test kits
Free test kits are also available from:
- participating Ontario Chambers of Commerce
- CDL Rapid Screening Consortium
- Shoppers Drug Mart locations, with a $14 handling fee for every box of 25 tests
What you need to know
Rapid antigen testing is an additional screening method that can help stop the spread of covid 19 and keep workplaces open. Organizations can test on-site and get results in about 15 minutes without shipping to a lab.
Rapid antigen testing may be performed 2-3 times per week during the first 2 steps of Ontario's reopening plan. During step 3 of the reopening plan, rapid antigen testing may be performed 1-2 times per week.
Use testing with other prevention methods
Rapid antigen testing works together with other covid 19 infection prevention methods. Once testing is introduced, continue to use PPE, wash hands and practice appropriate distancing.
Rapid tests should not be used during an outbreak unless they are used in addition to (not as a replacement for) diagnostic PCR testing and under the guidance of the local Public Health Unit.
Test people who don’t have symptoms and people who have been vaccinated
Only test people who have no covid 19 symptoms and are not a close contact of someone with covid 19. Vaccinated individuals should continue to be included in rapid antigen testing initiatives and continue to follow all other public health measures in the workplace.
Hire or train people to perform testing
Rapid antigen tests can be performed by a health professional (both regulated and unregulated) or trained individuals. The Ministry of Health has also provided a clinical endorsement for voluntary self-swabbing under the supervision of a trained individual. An individual is considered trained once they have watched this video.
Learn about the 2 types of rapid antigen tests
Abbott PanbioTM are single use test kits that meet the needs of most organizations. This test kit works well for low and high testing volumes and is recommended for organizations with multiple testing sites.
BD VeritorTM test kits require a small analyzer machine. This test kit is recommended for organizations with high testing volumes and a limited number of testing sites.
Confirm positive results with a lab-based PCR test within 48 hours
A positive result on a rapid antigen test is considered a preliminary or presumptive positive. Anyone who receives a positive result must:
- seek confirmation through a lab-based PCR test within 48 hours
- isolate until the results of the lab-based test are known
Safely dispose of hazardous waste
Waste generated from rapid antigen tests is considered hazardous under the Environmental Protection Act. Review Safe handling and management of rapid antigen covid 19 testing waste to learn about requirements and new exemptions to help businesses safely collect, store and transport waste in sealed biohazard containers.
Use your free tests ethically
Any rapid antigen test that is provided free of charge by the government is not to be re-distributed or re-sold under any circumstance, nor are sites allowed to charge individuals for the screening test.
Follow Ontario’s Roadmap to reopen
Rapid antigen testing cannot be used to help re-open non-essential business such as restaurants, bars, hair/nail salons, or non-essential retailers sooner. Review the Roadmap to find out when your business is allowed to open.
Find out if rapid antigen testing is right for you
For more information about how to prepare, review our:
- Considerations for antigen point-of-care testing (PDF)
- Provincial Testing Guidance (PDF) and training materials
- covid 19 workplace safety plan guidance
What to do if you are not eligible
If you are not eligible for free tests, you can still buy them and hire or train people to do on-site covid 19 testing for you.
Can you provide rapid antigen testing services?
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