COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test - An Alternative to Getting Vaccinated
In this post we tell you all you need to know regarding COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing.
Topics Will be Covered in This Post:
1. Why You Want to Know More about Rapid Antigen Test?
Ontarians need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and show proof of vaccination, as well as picture ID, to enter specified public settings and facilities beginning September 22, 2021.
Click here to see the list of settings and facilities where proof of vaccination is required.
In response to that, many businesses mandate their employees to get fully vaccinated or be suspended or terminated.
That raises a valid human rights law issue -- whether it violates the Ontario Human Rights Code (HRC) by discriminating against people who refuses to get vaccinated due to religious or other valid reasons?
The Law In Ontario Regarding Vaccination was discussed in detail in another blog post,
If you are interested, please click here to learn more.
One key factor in determining whether a particular vaccination policy is valid or not is whether it's a Bona Fide Occupational Requirement (BFOR) to compel employees be vaccinated or be penalized for their noncompliance. BFOR permits an employer to "discriminate" based on an otherwise prohibited ground, provided there is a genuine cause related to the job function.
The availability of COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test as an Alternative to Getting Vaccinated, is thus of great significance in determining whether a mandatory vaccination policy will withstand a constiutional challenge or a HRC challenge.
2. What Is COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test?
Through the Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Screening in the Workplace initiative, the Government of Canada is expanding the availability of rapid test kits for Canadian employees.
Screening tests and Diagnostic tests are the two types of testing.
Screening, using rapid detection tests (RADTs, or fast tests), has the ability to discover positive cases early (within 15 minutes), thus assisting in the reduction of viral transmission and the prevention of outbreaks.
Diagnostic tests, such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, confirms the presence of COVID-19 and provide findings in 24 to 48 hours.
Rapid tests are for people who have no symptoms of COVID-19, like coughing or fever. It is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool. The aim is to utilize it as a screening tool to see whether you have COVID-19 before spreading it to others in your workplace.
If you have COVID-19 symptoms, go to a PCR testing facility and obtain a PCR diagnostic test instead. If you have been exposed to a known case of COVID-19, you should also obtain a PCR test.
Click here for a Global News article that talks about how the rapid tests work and how to take a COVID-19 rapid test.
3. What Businesses are Eligible for COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Testing?
The program has been expanded to cover all organizations that are permitted to be open under existing public health mandates, and local businesses that are open to the publich which requires people to be physically present on-site (e.g. groceries stores, local stores and restaurants). Any institution that is required to test under a provincial vaccination policy, such as Directive 6, is also eligible.
What to check whether your business is eligible to receive the FREE!! 🤑🤑rapid antigen test kits?
Click here for the Ontario PASP checking tool to check for eligibility.
4. Can I Obtain a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test if My Employer Refused to Participate in the PASP?
Yes You CAN. 🤩🤩 In Ontario, Shoppers Drug Mart offers COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test, and anyone who fulfills the asymptomatic requirements is eligible for rapid screening at $40 CAD per screening at the time of writing of this blog post.
To get tested at the pharmacy, you must:
- Be symptom-free (you have no symptoms of COVID-19)
- Have not had contact with anybody known to be infected with COVID-19 in the last 14 days.
- Have not been recommended to quarantine during the previous 14 days, in accordance with federal quarantine standards
- Have not been recommended to be tested for COVID-19 as a result of an exposure warning through the COVID-19 app.
- Have never tested positive for COVID-19 before
The $40 screening fee will be waived if you meet certain criteria. Click here to check whether you are eligible to have the $40 screening fee waived.
If you need a negative COVID-19 test in preparation for an upcoming international flight instead, you will need the diagnostic PCR test, the price is $150 CAD at the writing of this blog post. Click here to learn more.
If your employer refuses to participate in the Rapid Testing for COVID-19 Screening in the Workplace initiative and the Ontario PASP without any good reason, and you are not given the option of taking the COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test instead of getting vaccinated, and you are terminated as a result of refusing to get vaccinated, you may have a case of human rights violation against your employer.
When your employer is giving you an ultimatum of getting vaccinated or be terminated, or have already been terminated, you should consults with an employment lawyer or you risk waiving your legal rights under Common law or your rights in suing for wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal or workplace discrimination.