Learn about rapid antigen testing and find out if your organization is eligible to access free test kits from the government.
The Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP) provides free rapid antigen test kits to high-risk communities, organizations and workplaces. Check your eligibility and apply below.
The program is available to all organizations that are allowed to be open under current public health measures, and also require people to be physically present on site. Any organization mandated to test through a provincial vaccine policy like Directive 6 (PDF) is also eligible.
Step 1: Review the information on this page
Step 2: Check eligibility and apply for the PASP
Step 3: Order free test kits from the distributor serving your sector
What you need to know before you apply
Rapid antigen testing is an additional screening method that can help stop the spread of covid 19 in workplaces and other high-risk settings. Organizations can choose to have employees test on-site or have them self-swab at home before coming into the workplace. Rapid antigen tests produce results in about 15 minutes and don’t require shipping to a lab. Rapid antigen testing may be performed at least one time per week, and up to 2-3 times per week.
Rapid antigen tests provided through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program are available for use with employees and other identified groups (for example, patients, essential caregivers, post-secondary students), but are not to be used to screen customers/patrons or the general public.
Organizations taking part in the PASP are required to:
- agree to the program terms and conditions
- review the testing guidance (PDF) and training materials
- notify their local Public Health Unit before your testing program begins
- order their free test kits from the distribution partner responsible for their sector
- report de-identified testing data to the province each week
- properly handle and dispose of used test kits
Anyone who is “trained” can perform a test
Rapid antigen tests can be performed by health professionals or any individual who is trained (including self-swabbing). Any individual is considered trained when they have consulted the appropriate training materials.
Review testing guidance and training resources
For more information review:
- About the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP)
- The appropriate rapid antigen testing training materials and video
- Considerations for antigen point-of-care testing (PDF)
- Provincial Testing Guidance (PDF)
- COVID-19 workplace safety plan guidance
Order the right type of rapid antigen test
When ordering tests, you will have an option to choose between two tests, Abbott PanbioTM or BD VeritorTM. Only one type of test can be ordered and administered at a time for each participating site
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, and for organizations implementing at-home self-screening programs as it is a self-read device.
BD VeritorTM test kits require a small analyzer machine, which is provided. This test kit is recommended for organizations with high testing volumes and a limited number of testing sites.
Continue to use 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 testing and under the guidance of the local Public Health Unit.
Test people who don’t have symptoms and people who are not fully-vaccinated
Test people who have no covid 19 symptoms and are not a close contact of someone with covid 19. Antigen POCT screening is generally not recommended for individuals who are fully vaccinated as the likelihood of covid 19 is low for this group which could result in an increase of false positive results.
For many sectors, participation is voluntary and people are not required to disclose their vaccination status in order to screen. All individuals should continue to follow all other public health measures in the workplace.
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 to safely dispose rapid antigen tests. Individuals testing at home should consult their municipality to determine if rapid test waste can be disposed of with household garbage.
Confirm positive results with a diagnostic test as soon as possible
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 or rapid POC molecular test as soon as possible (ideally within 48 hours)
- isolate until the results of the confirmatory test are known
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.
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 testing for you.
Organizations who buy tests privately should use them in accordance with the covid 19: Considerations for Privately Initiated Testing Guidance (PDF).
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