Vaccination Information and Testing Policy Order for Front-line Public Service Providers FAQ
What is the Vaccination Information and Testing Policy Order for Front-line Public Service Providers?
The Vaccination Information and Testing Policy Order for Front-line Public Service Providers describes the responsibilities of certain or named or specific public service providers to ensure that front-line staff are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or are tested on a regular schedule for COVID-19. Public service providers across the province will be provided with the testing supplies to establish a COVID-19 testing program for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated staff using rapid antigen tests.
Does an employer need to have its own vaccinate-or-test policy?
Every public service provider identified in the order must establish a COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Testing Policy for front-line staff that is in-keeping with the Order. A sample policy is available for public service providers.
What is a rapid antigen test?
A rapid antigen test is used for testing people who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. A rapid antigen test is a type of COVID-19 test that detects specific proteins on the surface of the virus.
How is the test administered?
The rapid antigen test being used for workplace screening involves a shallow nasal swab. This is different from the deeper nasopharyngeal swab used at primary assessment centres and pop-up clinics. Employees will self-administer the test using the education material provided by the Chief Public Health Office. Specific instructions are available in the sample COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Testing Policy.
How many times will staff members have to be tested?
Unvaccinated and partially unvaccinated employees will be tested no more than 1 time per day, 1 to 3 times per week, at the employer’s discretion. For example:
- Employee works one shift per week: employee would be required to complete 1 test prior to the shift.
- Employee works full time each week: tests will be spaced out with at least 1 test per week, to a maximum of 3 tests per week.
How long does it take to get a result?
The rapid test will give you a result in about 15 minutes. Results after 20 minutes are not to be utilized.
What happens if a test shows a positive result?
A positive test result is considered a presumptive positive. This means an individual is presumed to have COVID-19 until they can be re-tested with a lab-based polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. If a rapid test result is positive the following actions need to occur:
- Obtain a PCR test at a testing clinic. Staff should be instructed to self-identify to clinic staff as a presumptive positive;
- Immediately self-isolate until PCR test results are resulted negative.
- The employer should notify the Chief Public Health Office of any presumptive positive cases. Employers can email the name and contact information for the person who tested positive on a rapid test kit to email@example.com
- Staff member should not return to the workplace until they receive a negative PCR test.
If an employee has received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, do they still need to be tested?
Partially vaccinated staff will be required to be tested until fully vaccinated.
What does it mean to be fully vaccinated?
You are considered fully immunized 14 days after you have received the full series of a COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in Canada or a combination of two different COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada; currently those are:
- 2 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM
- 2 doses of Moderna SpikevaxTM
- 2 doses of AstraZeneca VaxzevriaTM / CoviShield
- Any two dose combination of the above (e.g. 1 dose of Moderna SpikevaxTM + 1 dose of AstraZeneca VaxzevriaTM)
- 1 dose of Janssen/Johnson & Johnson
If you received one or two doses of a non-Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine, you will be considered fully immunized 14 days after receiving one dose of an mRNA vaccine (Pfizer-BioNTech ComirnatyTM or Moderna SpikevaxTM).
You will also be considered fully immunized 14 days after receiving three doses of any non-Health Canada approved COVID-19 vaccine.
What if an employer does not comply with the Order?
Failure of employers to comply with the Order is an offence for which they may be liable on summary conviction, as per section 66 of the Public Health Act.
Are there PPE requirements for staff to complete the test?
No, because tests are self-administered, staff only need access to hand hygiene supplies. Resulted kits will need to be disposed of following routine practices.
Can the extraction tubes be prefilled with the Buffer Solution?
The buffer solution is stable at room temperature once opened until the expiration date. The Extraction Tubes can be pre-filled with solution for up to 2 hours prior to testing.
Are there any exemptions to the requirement for unvaccinated and partially vaccinated front-line employees to get tested?
There are no general exceptions to the requirement for unvaccinated or partially vaccinated front-line staff to get tested. Rarely, the Chief Public Health Office may exempt a public service provider or staff from any section of the Order in exceptional circumstances.
How does my organization obtain additional rapid test kits?
A public service provider may contact the Chief Public Health Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request additional rapid test kits.
Can an organization use the test kits for clients or patrons?
The test kits are to be used for staff only. Public service providers are responsible for the proper use and allocation of the test kits.
Can staff take the kits home and use them before coming to work?
No, the tests must be used, witnessed, and recorded in the workplace.