Media Releases May 07, 2021

Chambers of Commerce eager to work with government to deliver rapid testing kits for workplaces across the country


(OTTAWA) – Friday, May 7, 2021 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce today welcomes the Government of Canada’s announcement of its plan to work with the Canadian Chamber network to distribute hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 rapid test kits to local businesses across the country in the coming weeks.

The proposal is an opportunity to scale, to a national level, the successful Cambridge Chamber of Commerce/Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce pilot project to distribute self-administered rapid antigen test kits to small- and medium-sized businesses.

The goal would be to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by supporting workplaces that either are operating or that are set to reopen as part of the safe restart of the economy.

“Canada has a long way to go before we reach herd immunity. Rapid testing helps us bridge the gap with greater safety, protecting lives of workers and the livelihoods of small business owners. Businesses have an important role to play in the fight against COVID-19, and today’s announcement from the government shows it is increasingly a leadership role,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce. 

Working with the Government of Canada, the effort could enable the national chamber network, comprised of local and regional chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the country, to distribute rapid testing kits to businesses in jurisdictions where businesses can deploy workplace rapid testing.

“The third lockdown must be the last, and to ensure it is, we need to bring more tools to the fight against COVID-19. Rapid testing will play an important role in keeping workers safe and helping many businesses reopen and stay open. That’s the only path to real, sustainable economic recovery,” added Beatty.

By allowing routine screening for asymptomatic workers, workplaces would be able to proactively identify cases of COVID-19 that may have otherwise been missed, supporting employee safety and business continuity.

However, there remain gaps cross the country on the rules around workplace rapid screening and enabling businesses to self-administer rapid tests. The Canadian and regional chambers have written to provincial and territorial governments, stressing the urgent need to change their regulations to enable SMEs to use these rapid screening kits in a cost effective manner, and remove some burden from stretched frontline public health infrastructure.

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Because Business Matters

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce helps build the businesses that support our families, our communities and our country. We do this by influencing government policy, by providing essential business services and by connecting businesses to information they can use, to opportunities for growth and to a network of local chambers, businesses, decision-makers and peers from across the country, in every sector of the economy and at all levels of government, as well as internationally. We are unapologetic in our support for business and the vital role it plays in building and sustaining our great nation.

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For more information, please contact:

Emily Walsh
ewalsh@chamber.ca