Using COVID-19 rapid tests

Rapid tests are used to quickly identify people infected by the virus that causes COVID-19. They are easy to use for everyone and results are available within minutes.

When to use a rapid test

It is recommended that you use a rapid test as soon as possible if you have COVID-19 symptoms and:

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms can also use a rapid test to find out if they have COVID-19.

Necessary materials

Everything you need for your test is included in the test kit, except for a timer or stopwatch. Be sure to have one close at hand before starting the test.

How to use the test

The how-to video Rapid testing This hyperlink will open in a new window. (in French only) explains the different steps to follow when doing a rapid test.

The Using rapid tests sheet (PDF 603 Kb) also provides the necessary explanations.

Precautions to take

  • Store rapid tests at room temperature, out of direct sunlight.
  • Keep rapid antigen test kits and solutions out of the reach of children and pets;
  • Never swallow the solutions and avoid contact with eyes and skin. Contact the Poison Control Centre This hyperlink will open in a new window. in case of accidental ingestion or direct skin exposure to the solutions in the kits;
  • Wash hands thoroughly after use.

Steps to take based on the results

If the result is positive

  • Consult a pharmacist quickly if you are eligible for PaxlovidTM treatment. Treatment may be offered to you.
  • Take the necessary steps to avoid spreading the virus, particularly to the vulnerable people around you.
  • Take note of the test date. This information could be useful to you when making an appointment for your next COVID-19 vaccine.

If the result is negative, perform another test 48 hours later.

Reporting rapid test results

It is important to report your rapid test result by completing the self-reporting form This hyperlink will open in a new window. for each rapid test you do, whether the result is positive or negative.

Expiry dates for some kits

The shelf lives (expiry dates) of the Panbio™ and BD Veritor™ rapid antigen tests have been amended by Health Canada.

  • Panbio™ tests remain valid for 12 months after the expiry date;
  • BD Veritor™ expiring in 2022: these tests are valid for 4 months after the expiry date.

Last update: January 31, 2023


Information on the website in no way replaces the opinion of a health professional. If you have questions concerning your health status, consult a professional.


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