Local Chambers Rolling Out Free Rapid Tests

COMMERCE Rolling Out Free Rapid Tests to SMEs Across Ontario
Ontario Chamber Network begins distributing rapid tests to help keep businesses and communities safe through

COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative

(WINDSOR – May 7, 2021) –  Today, the Windsor-Essex, Leamington, and Amherstburg
Chambers of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the
Ontario and Canadian governments, and WEtech Alliance, have launched the COVID-19 Rapid
Screening Initiative. Through this initiative, the Windsor-Essex, Leamington, and Amherstburg
Chambers will roll out free rapid tests for small- and medium-sized businesses in the Essex County

“Chambers of commerce and boards of trade have been indispensable resources in their
communities since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. Public health and the health of our economy
are interdependent. That is why our chambers are proud to distribute rapid tests to small businesses
in Essex County. We hope that through this program, we will be able to curb the spread and reopen
our local economy safely,” said Rakesh Naidu, President and CEO, Windsor-Essex Regional
Chamber of Commerce.

The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative will provide free rapid antigen tests for employees of
small and medium-sized businesses. The tests will be distributed through participating local
chambers of commerce and boards of trade in Ontario. Businesses (including non-chamber
members) with 150 employees or less are welcome to participate in this program. The goal of the
program is to identify asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in the workplace that might otherwise be
missed, helping to curb the spread in the workplace, at home and around the community in Essex

The Initiative was first successfully piloted in the Waterloo region by the Greater Kitchener
Waterloo and Cambridge Chambers of Commerce in partnership with Communitech, the
Government of Ontario and Government of Canada. Through this pilot, the chambers have
delivered 120,000 kits to nearly 1,400 businesses in the region. This means that up to 30,000
employees in essential workplaces are receiving regular screening twice weekly in the Waterloo
region alone. The COVID-19 Rapid Screening Initiative builds upon the success of this existing
program and delivers tests into the hands of small and medium-sized businesses across the

“Rapid testing is one of the key ways to keep workplaces as safe as possible during the pandemic as
we wait for vaccinations to roll out. It will be an essential part of curbing the spread of COVID-19
in our communities so that we can get on the path to economic recovery faster,” said Rocco Rossi,
President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Interested SMEs can log into WEStaySafe.ca beginning on Wednesday, May 12, 2021 to order their
two-week supply of rapid tests.

The kits will be ready for pick-up at four locations in Essex County to be announced on Wednesday,
May 12, 2021. A designate from each SME, responsible for supervising the self-screening collection
onsite, will be required to attend the site for the initial pick-up where they will receive video training
to properly supervise the screening process and safely dispose of the used kits.

Each SME will be required to electronically submit their screening results after each occasion and
will be recommended to screen staff twice weekly. The accumulated data will be reported to the
Ministry of Health bimonthly.

If a test results in a preliminary positive for COVID-19, the employee will be required to leave
the workplace, arrange for a PCR Test within 24 hours at an approved COVID-19 assessment site,
and self-isolate until a confirmatory test result is received.

“As the indispensable partner of business, we are proud that many of our member chambers of
commerce and boards of trade, including Windsor-Essex, Leamington, and Amhertburg, will be
offering this program, distributing rapid tests to small and local businesses across the province. Over
700,000 rapid tests have already been shipped to 25 of our chambers and many more are showing
interest in rolling this program out,” added Rossi.

Click here to see which chambers and boards of trade are participating in the program to date. More
chambers of commerce and boards of trade will be joining in the coming weeks.