rapid antigen tests and set up onsite rapid COVID-19
workplace screening programs for employees.
About the Program
Organized in partnership with the Ministry of Health and the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), Safe Screen B.C. will guide businesses through the required application process for provincially available test-kits and support businesses in the set-up of onsite rapid workplace screening programs for employees.
How Safe Screen B.C. helps businesses
Supports businesses with the required application process for free rapid antigen tests through B.C.’s Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening Program
Supports the development of onsite workplace screening programs for employees
Enables access and usage of rapid antigen tests for B.C. businesses
Benefits of rapid antigen tests
Rapid antigen tests can quickly screen asymptomatic employees for COVID-19 in close contact settings.
Tests are mobile and can be deployed close to employees who need testing
Quick results to enable a public health response (typical turn around is 15-20 minutes)
Affordable and Available
Provincially available tests are free for program participants
How the Program Works
Participating businesses can expect to launch a workplace onsite screening program for employees with guidance and support throughout the process below:
Sign up for Safe Screen BC
Develop your application
Submit application & sign agreement
Order & Receive screening kits
Safe Screen B.C. participants will have access to:
Safe Screen B.C. toolkit
Support and guidance
Streamlined reporting software
Employee FAQ library
Safe Screen B.C. supports businesses interested in offering voluntary screening for employees without symptoms in close contact settings. Participating businesses will be asked to contribute a fee to cover the cost of the services provided by the Safe Screen B.C. program which include: tailored support services to apply for test kits, access to a custom-designed reporting solution, and access to training resources and additional support services to assist businesses with the implementation of onsite rapid screening. Test kits are provided free of charge by the province via Health Canada Rapid Screening Program for employers COVID-19 rapid testing and screening in workplaces: What employers should know – Canada.ca
Organizations that classify as long-term care, not for profit or are in the education sector are not eligible for this program. They are recommended to go directly to PHSA’s Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Screening Program Page for more information on how they can apply to implement a rapid screening program.
While test kits are provided free of charge by the province, participating businesses are asked to contribute a one-time fee to cover the cost of the services provided by Safe Screen B.C. program. The program fee is determined based on the size of the company. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to sign-up for the information session
Businesses interested in Safe Screen B.C. can attend an information session through this registration link.
Rapid Testing FAQs
What is rapid antigen screening?
Rapid antigen screening can be used to quickly screen asymptomatic people for COVID-19 in settings where there is close contact and a higher chance that infection can be transmitted. Rapid antigen tests detect viral proteins (known as antigens) and are performed at the time and place of sample collection. These tests involve a nasal swab of both lower nostrils and results typically take 15 to 20 minutes.1,2
How accurate are rapid antigen tests, and how are they different from lab based diagnostic tests?
Screening tests in people without symptoms are important tools to help quickly identify and isolate cases and to limit COVID-19 spread in the workplace and throughout the community.
Rapid antigen tests offer results more quickly (typically 15 to 20 minutes) than lab-based diagnostic polymerase chain reaction or PCR tests (typically 1 to 3 days). Rapid antigen tests can identify individuals with a high viral load and high transmission potential, making it a useful tool for screening purposes. However, rapid antigen tests can miss infections or can have false positive results.
Because rapid antigen tests used for screening purposes are less sensitive than lab-based diagnostic PCR tests, results are considered “presumptive.” The use of rapid antigen tests screening is not a substitute for other public health measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing. Because of the chance of a false positive result, individuals who test positive on a rapid antigen test are required to undergo a confirmatory lab-based diagnostic PCR test and can do so at any of B.C.’s collection centres.1-6
Who should rapid antigen tests be administered to?
Rapid antigen testing is voluntary and can be offered to individuals without symptoms and who are at an increased risk of exposure due to longer periods of contact with other individuals. (Testing can be administered to vaccinated employees.) Rapid antigen tests can also be used when individuals are not always able to maintain public health measures consistently due to the nature of their work. Rapid antigen screening should not be used for symptomatic individuals or individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. These individuals need to get a lab-based diagnostic PCR test.2
Why should workplaces implement rapid screening as vaccination rates climb and COVID-19 cases decline?
While vaccination rates are climbing, rapid testing continues to be one of the many public health tools available to drive down the transmission of COVID-19. (Other public health tools include vaccines, masks, PCR tests, etc.) Maintaining rapid screening will help provide another layer of protection for employers and employees to keep workplaces safe and to prevent potential workplace shutdowns. In addition, rapid screening can help protect workers given the potential for a rise in COVID-19 cases during the respiratory viral season in the fall and winter, and considering that not all employees or communities may be fully vaccinated.
Businesses interested in Safe Screen B.C. that have additional questions can send their inquiries to email@example.com