‘Asymptomatic testing is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19’
Saskatchewan has now opened its rapid antigen testing for COVID-19 program to employers in the province.
The province has amended The Medical Laboratory Licensing Regulations, 1995, so that a formal agreement is no longer needed between those who use rapid antigen tests and the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).
"This step means that businesses and individuals can easily procure and use these tests, helping asymptomatic people who have COVID-19 receive testing and treatment more quickly,” says Paul Merriman, minister of health.
The government will provide the tests for workplace screening as supplies allow. However, Saskatchewan's federal allocation of rapid antigen tests will be prioritized for health care professionals and priority settings such as long-term care facilities, personal care homes, schools, group homes and shelters.
The federal government has encouraged employers to apply for free rapid tests for workplace screening projects.
Meanwhile, Nova Scotia has introduced a new COVID-19 Rapid Screening Program for Workplaces to help employers carry out regular screening of staff.
“Asymptomatic testing is an important part of preventing and reducing the spread of COVID-19 and supports the provincial reopening plan by adding an extra layer of protection to prevent the spread of the virus in workplaces,” says Premier Iain Rankin. “Nova Scotia continues to be a national leader in asymptomatic testing, and everyone should make getting tested a regular part of their routine.”
Back in November, the province implemented a broad COVID-19 testing strategy for people who work at late-night bars and restaurants.
To participate, employers must have a testing plan approved by the Department of Health and Wellness in place. Test kits are provided by the province for free through the federal government.
At least 275 businesses and organizations representing more than 50,000 employees have signed up to take part in the program.
Ontario and Alberta have also been implementing rapid testing in workplaces.
However, rapid tests should not replace precautionary measures against COVID-19, says Kelly O’Ferrall, a labour and employment lawyer at Osler in Toronto.