Human Resources Legislative Update
Private On-Site Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Expanded
Date: March 22, 2021
On March 17, 2021, the Ontario government announced that:
- it has removed certain regulatory restrictions to make it easier to administer private, on-site testing for asymptomatic employees who wish to self-swab for a rapid antigen test on a voluntary basis (and under the supervision of a trained individual)
- a guide for organizations and individuals who wish to offer private testing is available
- it is expanding its Provincial Antigen Screening Program to more workplaces including first responders, emergency medical services, trucking and transportation, wastewater management, and post-secondary institutions.
The government has amended regulations made under the Laboratory and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act to remove the restrictions on persons who may perform COVID-19 point-of-care testing using a device authorized by the Minister of Health for such use, and on those who may collect those specimens. The government states that these changes make it easier for organizations to conduct on-site testing.
The Ministry of Health has published a guidance document titled “COVID-19 Guidance: Considerations for Privately Initiated Testing” (Guide) geared to organizations or individuals who wish to do point-of-care testing outside of the public health system. The Guide sets out testing requirements for organizations, which include but are not limited to:
- notifying their public health unit that they will be conducting a private testing program
- ensuring confidentiality of personal and health information in accordance with legal obligations
- having a systemic procedure in place to follow up on test results
- having a response plan in place where individuals are exposed to or are diagnosed with COVID-19
- reporting any positive COVID-19 cases to the applicable public health unit, in accordance with the Health Protection and Promotion Act.
The Guide also sets out certain organizational responsibilities relating to private testing.
Workplace testing can give rise to many legal issues. Accordingly, should you be considering implementing COVID-19 rapid testing in your workplace, it is recommended that you contact your regular Hicks Morley lawyer for further advice.
The article in this client update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. ©