Ontarians can now get a free rapid testing kit for at-home use. Expanding access to free rapid tests to the general public will to help detect COVID 19 earlier and stop the spread of the virus. Rapid antigen tests are easy-to-use tests that detect certain proteins in the virus to confirm the presence of COVID 19. Results from these tests can be available in as little as 15 minutes.
To further support Ontario’s cautious easing of public health measures, we are expanding access to free rapid testing kits to the general public for at-home use.
Starting February 9, Ontario has been distributing 5.5 million rapid antigen tests each week for eight weeks through pharmacy and grocery locations across the province, as well as through community partners in vulnerable communities. Over 2,300 participating grocery and pharmacy locations will provide tests while supplies last, with a limit of one box of five tests per household.
Participating retailers will receive additional supply each week and have the ability to determine how tests are distributed in order to best serve the community, including through appointment bookings, at checkout or through online orders. If your participating location is out of stock, please check back with them. The province intends to bring additional locations online in the coming weeks, including independent grocers and pharmacies.
Participating retailers may have additional information on their websites, such as how individual locations are distributing kits. This includes:
- Loblaws including DRUGStore in Fortino’s and Your Independent Grocer, Real Canadian Superstore and Shoppers Drug Mart
- Metro and Food Basics
- Rexall pharmacies
It has been reported in some regions that WalMart has only provided the free kits to those who purchase $35 worth of goods in the store. This has been a source of concerns, and it is thought that this restriction on the distribution of the free tests will not continue.