Toronto, ON (Ontario Chambers of Commerce) The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Ontario and Canadian governments, has launched the COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative. Through this initiative, participating chambers of commerce and boards of trade will roll out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in communities across the province.

“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as we wait for vaccinations to roll out. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of small and medium-sized businesses. The tests will be distributed through participating local chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario. Businesses (including non-chamber members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community.

“As the indispensable partner of business, we are proud that many of our member chambers of commerce and boards of trade will be offering this program, distributing rapid tests to small and local businesses across the province. Over 760,000 rapid tests will be going out to communities across Ontario with 28 of our chambers participating in rolling this program out,” added Rossi.

The Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the Government of Ontario, and Government of Canada. Through this pilot, the chambers have delivered 120,000 kits to nearly 1,400 businesses in the region. This means that up to 30,000 employees in essential workplaces are receiving regular screening twice weekly in the Waterloo region. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the province.

To order rapid tests for SMES in your community, click here to see which chambers and boards of trade are participating in the program to date. More chambers of commerce and boards of trade will be joining in the coming weeks.