Rapid test program is for businesses, Ontario says, after parent groups place orders

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TORONTO — Ontario says a program offering free rapid COVID-19 tests is for businesses only, after groups of parents across the province were using them to organize testing for their school-aged kids.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott says the program was designed to protect workers and allow businesses to safely reopen.

She says the agencies tasked with distributing the rapid tests are expected to adhere to the official parameters, as with any government program.

Some groups of parents had started placing orders for the rapid tests to do asymptomatic surveillance testing in their schools, but now say those orders are being cancelled.

Ottawa mom Regina Bateson saw her group's order of 1,000 tests cancelled, and she says it's frustrating that they can't go toward protecting unvaccinated children.

Ontario's chief medical officer of health has said widespread asymptomatic testing in schools isn't recommended because it isn't considered an effective tool.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 29, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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