You originally had to have at least a $35 order to get a test.
Even though Ontario announced that free rapid antigen tests would be available at grocery stores and pharmacies, Walmart, apparently, was still charging customers a minimum order fee in order to get a test kit.
MPP for Parkdale-High Park Bhutila Karpoche tweeted that Walmart required a $35 minimum purchase in order for Ontarians to get access to "free" rapid antigen tests.
"Big box stores like Walmart and Loblaws have made record profits during the pandemic. Now, they’re using government-provided RATs as a promo item. Walmart requires a $35 min. purchase. Loblaws requires same-day receipts. Ford’s “free” rapid tests aren’t free," she tweeted on February 9.
CityNews Toronto reports that Walmart's website says that customers who make a grocery pickup order on their grocery site will get a free rapid antigen test kit. Otherwise, customers could place an order for pickup on the Walmart site to get a free rapid antigen test kit for a "limited time."
UPDATE: Our intention of distributing the Rapid Antigen Test kits through online grocery pick-up was to avoid long lines in Ontario stores & offer them in a safe, efficient & equitable manner. We\u2019ve heard the concerns raised & will make kits available in these stores for free— Walmart Canada (@Walmart Canada) 1644451855
Walmart Canada is now reversing that requirement.
"Our intention of distributing the Rapid Antigen Test kits through online grocery pick-up was to avoid long lines in Ontario stores & offer them in a safe, efficient & equitable manner. We’ve heard the concerns raised & will make kits available in these stores for free," Walmart Canada tweeted on February 9.
As for the reported "same-day receipt" requirement at Loblaws, a spokesperson told Narcity that "this is not true and [they] are working to understand where the misinformation came from."
According to the spokesperson, customers going to Loblaws will be given one free rapid antigen test kit on a "first come first served basis" at no charge.
Free means free. \n\nWe\u2019re providing #RapidTests free of charge and all participating partners are expected to honour that \u2014 no minimums or mandatory purchase. \n\nIf they don\u2019t, we\u2019ll give them to retailers or pharmacies that will.— Doug Ford (@Doug Ford) 1644445364
The news comes after Premier Doug Ford took to Twitter to make it clear that "free means free."
"We're providing #RapidTests free of charge and all participating partners are expected to honour that — no minimums or mandatory purchase. If they don't, we'll give them to retailers or pharmacies that will," he said.
The Ontario government announced on Wednesday that free rapid tests would be available at over 2,300 participating grocery stores and pharmacies across the province.
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.