PRINCE GEORGE (January 25, 2022) – With COVID-19 PCR testing restricted throughout the province and millions of rapid tests arriving in British Columbia, the Official Opposition is calling on the NDP government to explain to British Columbians why they are still unable to access rapid tests in ways similar to residents in virtually every other jurisdiction in the country.
“With millions of rapid tests being provided by the federal government, we’re disappointed to see that the NDP government is still failing to increase access for British Columbians to use a rapid test as part of the strategy to mitigate transmission. With much more limited availability of PCR tests, now more than ever, rapid tests should be made broadly available in our province as they are in many other jurisdictions,” said Interim Leader of the Official Opposition Shirley Bond. “People across B.C. are anxious about Omicron and in utter disbelief and frustration that they cannot access rapid tests like in other provinces. We’ve seen a million rapid tests sitting in storage, issues about packaging and distribution, and now, with millions more tests on the way from the federal government, why aren’t they being provided to British Columbians as part of our pandemic safety kit?”
The public, as well as the BC Liberal Caucus, have been calling for increased and broader use of rapid tests since early in the pandemic. Meanwhile, the NDP has failed throughout the entire pandemic to take advantage of these tests in the way other jurisdictions across Canada have and has made little progress on getting those tests into the hands of British Columbians.
“When millions more rapid tests were announced to be coming to B.C., people expected that the distribution and utilization plan would include expanded availability and access for public use. Instead, the NDP has been silent on their plans to deploy the vast majority of those tests and whether or not they will be available more broadly to British Columbians across the province,” added Bond. “While rapid tests aren’t perfect, they should be considered an important part of pandemic protection and the NDP government should be using every tool in the toolbox to keep people safe by helping facilitate expanded distribution of the millions of rapid tests arriving in our province.”