Shoppers Drug Mart in Ottawa not offering COVID-19 tests for international travellers
OTTAWA -- The Ontario government will no longer cover COVID-19 testing for clearance to travel.
“This step is being taken to ensure taxpayer dollars are appropriately allocated to key priorities and to preserve capacity within the provincially funded COVID-19 testing network,” the provincial government said in a news release.
Up until Friday, the tests were free at select pharmacies. However, with each test costing the province roughly $48, according to the 2020 budget, the government is updating its testing guidelines.
The test will cost travellers $199 plus tax at Shoppers Drug Mart, but they’re not offered in Ottawa.
“The COVID-19 testing available at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations for those travelling internationally is being piloted in the Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver markets,” a spokesperson for the parent-company Loblaw said in an e-mailed statement to CTV News.
According to Shoppers’ website, 14 locations in the Greater Toronto Area are offering the tests.
“We will be sure to share further updates regarding additional locations as they arise,” the spokesperson said.
"As the trajectory of the COVID-19 pandemic has changed, we have continued to adapt our approach to testing and the services we have made available," Health Minister Christine Elliott said in a statement. "While international travellers are no longer eligible to receive a publicly funded COVID-19 test, we remain committed to ensuring that anyone who needs a test can get one quickly, at no cost."
A quarantine period of 14 days still applies for travellers returning to Canada.
Testing continues to be free in Ontario for those who are asymptomatic or who have been in contact with someone who has symptoms.