Ontario's Handing Out Free Rapid Tests At Grocery Stores & Here's What You Need To Know

You could pick one up starting February 9!

Toronto Associate Editor
Ontario's Handing Out Free Rapid Tests At Grocery Stores & Here's What You Need To Know

Ontarians who have been looking to pick up a free rapid antigen test can do so again at their local grocery store.

As of February 9, the Ford government announced it will be providing free access to rapid antigen tests for anyone who is looking to get one. In the last couple of months, Ontario reserved rapid tests for priority settings, like hospitals and long-term care homes, due to supply constraints.

"Up to 5.5M tests will be made available per week as we continue to respond to COVID-19 and [the] ongoing rapid antigen test demand," government officials wrote.

Ontarians will be able to get one box of five tests per household each time they go to a participating retailer.

Anyone who is displaying symptoms can use a rapid test to see if they are positive for COVID-19, as well as anyone who needs them for "test-to-work" purposes in the highest risk settings only.

The Ontario government doesn't recommend asymptomatic people using rapid tests as a way of screening for social events, but if you do choose to use a test in this way, it should be taken within a few hours of the event. The province reminds those who use tests for this purpose that a negative result could be a false negative.

Currently, 2,385 grocery and pharmacy locations will provide access to tests. You can find rapid test kits at these retailers, but the Ontario government notes that not all locations may be participating:

  • Costco, in-store pick-up
  • Shoppers Drug Mart, in-store pick-up
  • Loblaws, in-store pick-up
  • DRUGStore in Fortino's, in-store pick-up
  • Your Independent Grocer, in-store pick-up
  • Real Canadian Superstore, in-store pick-up
  • Zehrs, in-store pick-up
  • Metro, in-store pick-up
  • Food Basics, in-store pick-up
  • The North West Company, in-store pick-up
  • Rexall, in-store pick-up
  • Sobeys, in-store pick-up
  • Independent pharmacy retailers, in-store pick-up
  • Longo's, in online grocery orders, eventually shifting to in-store pick-up
  • Walmart, in online grocery pick-up orders, no in-store pick-up
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