COVID-19 testing for Indigenous peoples

Find out how to order rapid tests for your community, or where and how to get tested.

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COVID-19 testing for communities and organizations

Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) works with provinces and territories to ensure access to testing is available for Indigenous communities and organizations, as well as companies operating on Indigenous communities. Getting rapid antigen tests to your community, Indigenous organization or businesses for distribution will help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks.

Funding for COVID-19 testing programs

ISC has funding streams to support Indigenous communities for COVID-19 testing programs including both molecular and rapid antigen testing. This includes activities such as:

  • on-going tracking of test kits
  • implementation of testing programs
  • storage of test kits
  • distribution of test kits

Procurement of testing resources from private vendors is not considered an eligible expense. Consult eligible expenses for COVID-19 public health support.

Ordering rapid antigen tests for your community

Indigenous communities, organizations and companies operating in Indigenous communities should first try to obtain rapid tests from provinces and territories or through their local Indigenous health authority. ISC has a reserve of rapid antigen tests for communities and organizations that can be supplied if provinces and territories are unable to complete requests.

Requests can be made by:

  • Indigenous communities
  • Indigenous organizations
  • Indigenous health authorities
  • Businesses or essential services operating on Indigenous communities

Requests will be prioritized based on need and current capacity.

How to request

  1. First try to access tests from your province, territory or local Indigenous health authority.
  2. If they cannot complete your request, contact your ISC regional office.
  3. Explain that you are not able to access tests from the provinces, territories or local Indigenous health authority.
  4. Include a short rationale for your current need and how the tests will be used.
  5. Provide:
    • the primary contact’s information, including email and phone number
    • a delivery address for shipment
    • the number of total tests (not kits) needed

ISC will contact you once the request is submitted.

Testing for individuals

Testing is an important tool to slow the spread of COVID-19. It shows individuals when they have the virus so they can follow public health measures to keep their community safe.

How to get a rapid antigen test

Ask your community administration office, nursing station, community health clinic or Indigenous local health authority for a rapid antigen test for you and your family. Tests can also be obtained at pharmacies.

Testing is safe

Testing for COVID-19 can help reduce the risk of spreading the virus to Elders, families, your community, clients and co-workers.

Getting tested will not put your personal health information at risk. Your identity, health status and other personal information is only shared with health care providers as required.

How to self-test and what to do next

To find out how to use a rapid antigen test and how to interpret the results and what to do next, please visit: A guide to self-testing for COVID-19.

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