Massive expansion of rapid testing in Alberta

Provincial Press Release March 23, 2021 @ 10:45pm published at 11:45am


Alberta’s government is offering millions of free rapid testing kits to public, private and not-for-profit employers and service providers provincewide.


At least two million rapid tests will be available for businesses and sectors in Alberta. This follows the successful rollout of more than 1.2 million rapid tests to long-term care facilities, schools, outbreak sites, hospitals, homeless shelters and industries across the province.

Any employer or service provider in Alberta can apply for the free rapid tests.

“Rapid testing kits have been used successfully in long-term care, shelters, and large worksites to keep Albertans safe. This expansion of our rapid testing program supports our overall COVID-19 strategy, to shield those most at risk, to protect lives and livelihoods, and adapt our actions to new evidence as it comes. I am pleased that we are able to give businesses and service providers another tool for screening cases early and breaking the chain of transmission.” Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health

To be eligible for rapid testing kits, employers and service providers must submit a screening program plan that outlines:

  • protocols for administering the tests

  • the use of personal protective equipment

  • processes for reporting results and managing individuals who screen positive.

A health-care provider is required to oversee the organization’s screening program. However, the tests can be administered by a trained layperson, and self-administration is permissible under certain conditions.

While anyone can apply, Alberta’s government will prioritize businesses or organizations involved with vulnerable populations, high-risk settings and workplaces, first responders, essential services and critical industry, and sectors that support the reopening of economic and social activities.

Rapid COVID-19 tests can help identify pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases so they can be isolated early. Individuals with symptoms should continue to be tested by scheduling through Alberta Health Service’s online self-assessment tool.

Alberta’s government is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic by protecting lives and livelihoods with precise measures to bend the curve, sustain small businesses and protect Alberta’s health-care system.

Quick facts

  • Rapid tests will be provided for free to all successful applicants.

  • Alberta has received approximately 2.6 million rapid tests since October 2020, with an additional one million expected before the end of April.

  • Organizations are responsible for all costs related to establishing and operating their screening programs and assume all medical and legal responsibilities associated with them.

  • If a business or service provider needs help finding a health care provider to oversee their screening program or requires additional supports to develop a program plan, a list of third-party resources is available at alberta.ca/RapidTesting.

  • Rapid testing kits have already been deployed to help screen and test cases, including:

  • 523,000 tests to long-term care and designated supportive living facilities

  • 443,000 tests to several companies in critical industries such as oil and gas, transportation, meatpacking and utilities

  • 100,000 tests to support a rapid screening pilot in schools

  • 40 COVID-19 assessment centres

  • 47 hospital-based labs

  • Eight homeless shelters

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