Provinces clamour for rapid tests while feds struggle to deliver


Published January 12, 2022 at 1:32 pm

OTTAWA — Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says Canada is in crisis when it comes to COVID-19 PCR test capacity, even as the federal government struggles to make good on its promise to deliver 140 million rapid tests to provinces by the end of the month. 

Duclos says access to PCR tests in provinces is a crisis, and that’s why at-home rapid tests will be such an important tool to combat the Omicron wave of COVID-19.

But some provinces have flagged that shipments of those vital rapid tests from the federal government have been slow to arrive. 

In Ontario for example, fewer than 0.3 per cent of the rapid tests committed to the province in January have been delivered so far and there is no delivery scheduled for about 80 per cent of the promised tests.

Federal Procurement Minister Filomena Tassi says the provinces’ demand for the tests has increased drastically since last year while the market has become very competitive.

She says the government is working with 14 suppliers to secure the tests that were promised by the end of the month. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 12, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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