Could rapid testing for covid at work give Canada’s corporate world a road map to break the chain of transmission in the workplace?. A consortium run out of the University of Toronto is spearheading a pilot program with a variety of large Canadian corporations* and offering workers rapid testing for COVID-19 at work in an effort to keep outbreaks under control. Some businesses already do rapid testing for covid at work. They provide guidance to employees who want to self-swab on a voluntary basis under the supervision of a trained individual.
Using rapid tests to screen for COVID-19 can provide an additional layer of safety in the workplace. While the province supports the use of point of care COVID-19 tests, which are approved by Health Canada, it is can still be challenging for businesses to implement a testing plan. Additional health care resources may be required and procuring COVID-19 rapid tests from non-government sources can be a challenge. But why is it so hard to find Health Canada-approved point-of-care tests, if they make it easier for organizations to offer frequent onsite testing and support a safer work environment?
In the UK a recent BBC article suggests 48,000 businesses have signed up for COVID-19 rapid testing. However, Canada lags behind other countries in rapid testing for COVID-19 at work. Why? Why does Health Canada lag behind in approving COVID-19 rapid tests that are currently being used elsewhere and can easily be made available to increase testing in Canada?
It is easy to understand why some Canadian businesses are taking matters into their own hands and rapid testing for COVID-19 at work, as Canada is under severe criticism after a very disappointing 61st world ranking for its handling of the pandemic and 38th for the vaccine rollout.
*Bank of Nova Scotia, Loblaw Companies Ltd., Shoppers Drug Mart, Magna International Inc., Nutrien Ltd., Canada Pension Plan Investments, Rogers Communications Inc., Air Canada, Suncor Energy Inc., Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment.