Rapid tests

To reduce the risk of outbreaks in workplaces, companies may have access to free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests for staff located in Québec. BD VeritorTM and PanbioTM tests with nasal swabs are preferred. Companies may submit a request for tests to the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux.

Anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 should not report to the workplace. It is recommended to take a rapid test at home and follow the instruction in the Managing the result section.

Advantages and limitations

Rapids tests:

  • provide results within a few minutes (the time varies depending on the test);
  • are useful for quickly identifying infected people during an outbreak, for example;
  • can be taken more easily to people who need to be tested, depending on the type of test;
  • may give false-positive results for people who are not infected or false negative results in infected people.

Eligibility

All companies that have staff working in Québec who cannot do telework because of the nature of their work are eligible. However, a minimum of 50 face-to-face employees is required to qualify.

Requirements

To obtain rapid tests, the company must:

  • Continue infection protection and control measures
  • Invite their employees to view the manufacturer’s training videos and read the manufacturer’s fact sheets
  • Inform employees who get a positive result for a rapid test that they will need to undergo laboratory testing at a designated testing centre to confirm their test result. If the employees are unable to undergo this test, they will have to self-isolate respecting the Instructions for people with COVID-19.
  • Agree not to sell the rapid tests or use them for any purpose other than testing their staff
  • Undertake to complete data collection

Types of rapid tests available

  • BD VeritorTM
  • PanbioTM

Training modules for businesses are currently being developed.

Results management

Invalid result: Repeat sampling and testing immediately with new material.

Negative result: The employee returns to work.

Positive result: It is necessary to self-isolate. If the employee is a priority client, he will have to undergo a laboratory test in a designated testing centre to have the diagnosis confirmed. Consult the Instructions for people with COVID-19 page to take note of the instructions.

Expiry dates

Health Canada has changed the shelf life of rapid tests.

Expiry dates of PanbioTM kits

Each test kit has three expiry dates:

  1. On the box (kit)
  2. On the buffer vial
  3. On the test cartridge packaging

On September 9, 2021, Health Canada authorized the shelf life of PanbioTM kits, buffer solutions, and test cartridges to be extended from 12 months to 24 months.

This means each kit now has a new expiry date. In other words, you must add 12 months to the expiry dates on kits, buffer vials, and test cartridges.

To make it easier to read the expiry date, when you receive boxes, we suggest writing the new expiry date on a new white label and sticking the label over the current expiry date.

If you have any questions about kit expiry dates, please contact us at: testsrapidesentreprises@msss.gouv.qc.ca.

Expiry dates of BD VeritorTM kits

On October 18, 2021, Health Canada authorized the shelf life of BD VeritorTM kits to be extended from 12 months to 16 months.

Here is what is specifically authorized:

  • For all kits with an expiry date in 2021, you must add 10 months to the expiry date shown. For example, for a kit whose expiry date is June 6, 2021, the new date will be April 6, 2022.
  • For all kits with an expiry date in 2022, you must add 4 months to the expiry date shown. For example, for a kit whose expiry date is June 6, 2022, the new date will be October 6, 2022.

To make it easier to read the expiry date, when you receive boxes, we suggest writing the new expiry date on a new white label and sticking the label over the current expiry date.

If you have any questions about kit expiry dates, please contact us at: testsrapidesentreprises@msss.gouv.qc.ca.

Waste management

Rapid tests are not considered biomedical waste.

You may dispose of waste generated by rapid tests in regular trash cans. This also includes personal protective equipment.

Procedure for ordering tests

Companies in Québec that would like to have access to rapid antigen tests must submit a request to Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS) by email at commandetestsrapides@msss.gouv.qc.ca.

Companies can send any questions to testsrapidesentreprises@msss.gouv.qc.ca.

MSSS reserves the right to withdraw the authorization granted if it considers that the plan has more disadvantages than advantages.