Peter Tabuns MPP, Toronto-Danforth

Government of Ontario

Ford wrong to double down on refusing to make free rapid tests available: NDP

Published on December 9, 2021

QUEEN’S PARK — The NDP is calling out the Doug Ford government for doubling down on refusing to make COVID rapid tests available to all Ontarians for free.
“Every Ontarian should be able to take a free at-home rapid test — before visiting elderly loved ones or going to crowded holiday shopping malls,” said NDP Finance critic Catherine Fife (Waterloo). “And everyday people know that’s not what’s happening in Ontario right now.
“We have the ability to keep Ontario families safer over the holidays, but Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Christine Elliott are refusing. They’re claiming that there is nothing else to be done while telling tall tales about who can get rapid tests. That’s outrageous. Doug Ford needs to stop rolling the dice on public health. When he plays games like this, we all pay the price with higher case counts.”
On Wednesday and again on Thursday, Health Minister Christine Elliott falsely claimed that all Ontarians can get free rapid tests. That’s untrue — pharmacies are selling them for $40 a pop and only a select few will have access to a free test. On Thursday, Ontario’s Science Table issued a report calling for rapid testing to be ramped up and made more available to stop the rise in cases. Meanwhile, the Ford government admits to five million tests sitting in warehouses, and the federal government reports that only nine million of 34 million rapid tests in Ontario have been used.
“Charging $40 a pop is a barrier. Ford is putting his big business buddies ahead of public health again,” said Fife. “If the NDP were the government right now, we’d make rapid tests free, and make sure families could easily pick up take-home tests.”