Canadians call for greater access to rapid antigen testing: poll

Canadians call for greater access to rapid antigen testing: poll

With cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant surging, a “frenzied” search for rapid antigen tests has commenced across Canada and a recent poll suggests residents want greater access to these COVID-19 tests this holiday season.

According to new data from the Angus Reid Institute, nearly half of Canadians are dissatisfied with the responses of their respective governments surrounding access to rapid tests.

A recent survey shows that Canadians feel there has been an inconsistent supply and shaky rollout plans from their respective provincial governments regarding COVID-19 rapid tests.

Overall, 46 per cent of residents say their own province has done a poor job providing rapid tests where they are needed.

This proportion rises to majority levels in Alberta (54 per cent), Manitoba (58 per cent) and Ontario (52 per cent), and is the plurality view in British Columbia and Quebec.

READ MORE: British Columbia’s new COVID 19 restrictions to curb Omicron variant come into effect

In Atlantic Canada, opinions are mostly positive where hundreds of thousands of tests were rushed out to schools and workplaces in recent weeks.

The Angus Reid Institute says some provinces have faced criticism for perceived unwillingness to distribute stockpiles of tests — that were delivered by the federal government — and in many cases, for requiring Canadians to pay costs for rapid testing.

According to the survey, three in five Canadians (63 per cent) say their province should endeavour to make tests free and universal, while about one in five (18 per cent) would prefer tests are used only to monitor higher risk spaces to conserve supply.

One-quarter (26 per cent) also suggest they have wanted to take a rapid test at some point during the pandemic but have been unable to find or afford one.

Additionally, the survey says that three in five Canadians are concerned about becoming sick with COVID-19 during the holiday season, a level essentially unchanged since the beginning of the month.

Graham CoxGraham Cox

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!