Safe Screen B.C. UPDATE:
Effective March 31, 2022 businesses can contact the Provincial Health Services Authority
directly to apply for the rapid antigen workplace screening program.
DETAILS

Program Update

***UPDATE***

With updates to the province’s Rapid Point of Care Testing Strategy effective March 31, 2022, the Safe Screen B.C. program has merged into the Provincial Health Services Authority’s (PHSA) Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care program.

In light of this transition, businesses can apply directly through PHSA’s Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Team by emailing them at RapidPOCTeam@phsa.ca to request an intake form.

For businesses already participating in Safe Screen B.C., please contact PHSA’s Rapid COVID-19 Point of Care Team RapidPOCTeam@phsa.ca as of April 1st, 2022 should you have any questions or require support related to rapid testing for workplaces.

Between August 2021 and March 2022, the Safe Screen B.C. program enabled 840 B.C. businesses of all sizes to adopt workplace rapid testing programs for nearly 24,000 employees working across the province.  Over 328,000 provincial rapid antigen tests were distributed as part of this program.  We thank all of the participating employers, their employees and program partners for their efforts to keep B.C. workplaces safe.

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 rapid antigen testing programs for employees

Enables access and usage of rapid antigen tests for B.C. businesses

Benefits of rapid antigen tests

Rapid antigen testing is an additional resource to help keep your workplace safe. By deploying rapid tests for employees with symptoms of Covid-19, we can support safe and healthy workplaces.

Accessible

Tests are mobile and can be deployed to employees who need testing

Fast

Quick results to enable a public health response (typical turn around is 15-20 minutes)

Affordable

Provincially available tests are free for program participants

How the Program Works

Under the current Provincial Health Order, B.C. businesses are only allowed to conduct COVID-19 rapid antigen testing for workers if they have received approval from the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA).

There are two pathways for B.C. businesses to apply for, and to receive approval to conduct COVID-19 rapid antigen testing activities for workers:

  • Independently – Businesses apply directly with PHSA.
  • Safe Screen B.C. – Businesses apply through Safe Screen B.C. to PHSA; and receive support and guidance which will streamline and simplify the application process and the implementation of the screening program to meet their specific workplace needs.

Businesses are not required to apply through Safe Screen B.C. to receive approval for COVID-19 rapid antigen testing.

Participating businesses can expect to launch a workplace rapid antigen testing program for employees with guidance and support throughout the process below:

Sign up for Safe Screen BC & sign participant agreement

Sign up for Safe Screen BC & sign participant agreement

Develop your application

Develop your application

Submit application to PHSA

Submit application to PHSA

Order & receive rapid antigen test kits

Order & receive rapid antigen test kits

Safe Screen B.C. participants will have access to:

Safe Screen B.C. toolkit

Tools and resources for businesses to set up and execute rapid antigen testing for employees including template operating procedures, site plans, quick reference sheets and checklists

Support and guidance

Tailored support to apply authorization to set up employee rapid antigen testing program, and guidance through the implementation.

Employee FAQ library

A library of employee FAQ templates for common rapid antigen testing questions.

Readiness training

Facilitated virtual training sessions on how to fulfill application criteria and execute rapid antigen testing.

Program eligibility

Safe Screen B.C. supports businesses interested in offering voluntary rapid antigen testing for employees with symptoms. 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 approval to implement a rapid antigen testing program, access to direct ordering of test kits, access to training resources, and additional support services to assist businesses with the implementation of the testing program. Test kits are provided free of charge by the province via Health Canada Rapid Screening Program for employers to conduct COVID-19 rapid testing: 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.

 

Program costs

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 info@safescreenbc.ca.

 

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 testing?

Rapid antigen testing can be used to quickly test symptomatic 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?

Rapid antigen tests in people with 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 30 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. However, rapid antigen tests can miss infections or can have false negative and positive results.

Because rapid antigen tests are less sensitive than lab-based diagnostic PCR tests, the use of rapid antigen tests is not a substitute for other public health measures such as mask wearing and physical distancing. Due to limited availability of PCR tests in the province, individuals who test positive on a rapid test should not seek confirmatory PCR testing and should follow provincial health guidelines on isolation.

Who should rapid antigen tests be administered to?

Rapid antigen testing is voluntary and can be offered to individuals with symptoms of COVID-19. (Testing can be administered to vaccinated employees.)  Rapid antigen tests should only be used for symptomatic individuals per recent Provincial policy. Individuals with known close contact with a positive COVID-19 case should monitor for symptoms.  If symptoms arise, follow the testing guidelines to see if you should get tested.

Why is there a funding requirement for businesses to participate in Safe Screen B.C.? How is Safe Screen B.C. funded?

Safe Screen B.C. operates as a partnership between Ministry of Health, PHSA and the Business Council of B.C.. The program is funded through a combination of private and public sector contributions, including from program participants.

What support and services do businesses receive from Safe Screen B.C.?

Business fees for Safe Screen B.C. goes towards resources to support businesses with setting up a safe and effective rapid antigen testing program for employees. Test kits remain free.

Safe Screen B.C. aims to streamline and simplify the process of setting up and operating a rapid antigen testing program for businesses and will help reduce the time and effort required of the business operator to comply with provincial health requirements.

Funding goes toward providing the following services and resources for businesses:

  • Application support: guidance and support to obtain PHSA approval to implement an employee rapid antigen testing program.
  • Training support: Facilitated virtual training sessions on how to fulfill application criteria and use rapid antigen tests.
  • Ordering support: Facilitated submission of your order form tot he PHSA warehouse and assistance with coordinating your shipment.
  • Ongoing support: Tools and resources for businesses to set up and execute rapid screening in the workplace, including site plans, an employee FAQ library and quick reference sheets.

Ongoing guidance: Implementation coach and updates for businesses to stay in compliance with the provincial requirements

Next steps

Businesses interested in Safe Screen B.C. that have additional questions can send their inquiries to info@safescreenbc.ca

Program Contributors

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