Today, the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Health, welcomed the Royal Assent in Parliament of Bill C-10 – An Act respecting certain measures related to COVID-19. This bill provides Health Canada with $2.5 billion in funding and the statutory authority to purchase and distribute COVID-19 rapid tests across Canada.
With this funding, the Government of Canada will ship hundreds of millions of additional COVID-19 rapid tests to provinces and territories and Indigenous communities over the next three months, free of charge. The funding also allows Health Canada to continue to provide tests for distribution through partners such as the Canadian Red Cross, chambers of commerce and pharmacies.
The Royal Assent of Bill C-10 provides increased and equitable access to rapid tests for everyone in Canada. It builds on the commitments of the December 2021 Economic and Fiscal Update, which proposed an additional $1.7 billion in funding for the purchase and distribution of rapid tests in Canada.
Bill C-10 allows Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada to:
- Remain competitive in the procurement of rapid tests and quickly distribute the rapid test kits across the country in response to increased demand;
- Help small, medium and large-sized businesses maintain safe environments for their employees and patrons;
- Continue to support provinces and territories in securing the COVID-19 rapid tests they need; and
- Deliver rapid tests to community organizations, their personnel, and the people they serve, free of charge, through an ongoing partnership with the Canadian Red Cross.
COVID-19 continues to be part of our lives, and testing and screening remains an important tool to rapidly detect and isolate new cases, to support follow-up with close contacts and to prevent outbreaks in the community by breaking the chain of transmission. Along with public health measures such as frequent handwashing, physical distancing, wearing a mask, and vaccination, rapid tests can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect individuals, their families and their community. Rapid testing for COVID-19 is safe, effective, easy to administer, and produces results in as little as fifteen minutes.