Rapid Antigen Testing for Workplaces

Access to free rapid antigen tests through the Provincial Antigen Screening Program may be delayed. The demand is high and supply is temporarily limited due to increased need in the highest risk health care settings.

Last updated: April 12, 2022

***Positive rapid antigen test (RAT) results do not require PCR/rapid molecular confirmatory testing.*** 

A positive RAT is highly indicative that the individual has COVID-19, and the individual and their household members are required to self-isolate, as per self-isolation directions for individuals with COVID-19 symptoms and their household members.  Positive RATs do NOT need to be confirmed by PCR/rapid molecular test and do not need to be reported to the public health unit. Learn more about your RAT results on the Frequently Asked Questions about Rapid Antigen Testing.  

Frequently asked questions

What is Rapid Antigen Testing?

Rapid antigen tests use a nasal swab. The antigen test looks for proteins from the COVID-19 virus. Results are available in about 15 to 20 minutes. 

Rapid testing can be performed on vaccinated, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated persons. 

Rapid testing does not prevent someone from getting COVID-19. It also does not replace public health measures such as vaccination, symptom screening, physical distancing, appropriate use of PPE (masking, eye protection) and hand hygiene.

How to collect a sample for a rapid antigen test (RAT)

What is the Provincial Antigen Screening Program (PASP)? 

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program aims to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and to support essential and vulnerable workplaces to safely stay open. 

The program distributes rapid antigen tests to employers in priority settings to enhance existing routine screening measures for employees. 

The Ottawa Board of Trade also participates in the PASP and distributes RAT kits to Ottawa businesses with less than 150 employees. Learn more about this program.

How do workplaces participate in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program?

To participate in the Provincial Antigen Screening program, contact the Government of Ontario to find out if your organization is eligible to access free test kits. 

A list of other authorized COVID-19 rapid testing devices is available through the Government of Canada website. 

The Eastern Ontario Regional Laboratory Association (EORLA) offers training and advice around quality assurance for sites implementing rapid testing. For more information, please contact rapidcovtestquestions@eorla.ca.

What are the responsibilities for organizations conducting rapid antigen testing?

Workplaces or organizations that participate in rapid antigen testing assume all operational, medical, and/or legal responsibilities relating to this initiative. 

Workplaces must have a procedure in place to follow-up with clients on their test results. 

Workplaces must have plans in place to respond, should any individuals be exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19. For example, how the organization will follow public health guidance for handling a positive result from a rapid antigen test. 

Please review guidance from the Ministry of Health for more information about participating in rapid antigen testing.

How do I dispose of used rapid antigen test kits?

There are different disposal requirements for businesses and private residences.  

At-home rapid antigen screening  

For residents in the City of Ottawa, rapid COVID test kits from at-home testing must be placed in a plastic bag and then placed in your regular household garbage. This will help ensure the safety of waste collection operators.     

On-site workplace rapid antigen screening  

Waste from on-site workplace rapid antigen screening programs is considered hazardous waste under the Environmental Protection Act.  

Workplaces/businesses participating in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program must follow provincial guidance provided by the Safe handling and management of rapid antigen COVID-19 testing waste

Workplaces/businesses participating in the Ottawa Board of Trade’s (OBOT) Rapid Antigen Testing Program can bring their biomedical waste back to OBOT’s distribution sites for disposal. These sites are located at: 

  • West End: 1000 Innovation Drive, Kanata  

  • East End: 1730 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa  

Following proper biosafety precautions is one of many considerations a workplace needs to anticipate before starting this program at their worksite.

Other Resources for Organizations Participating in Rapid Antigen Testing 


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