Ontario tracking down COVID-19 rapid test resellers
As quickly as rapid tests were snapped up in Ontario, they appeared on various reselling sites for a pretty penny.
Just last week, the province announced that free rapid tests would be handed out in select LCBOs and other high-traffic areas. With rapid tests in high demand, some Ontarians decided to try to sell theirs for grossly marked-up prices. Now the province says they will be cracking down on resellers.
Minister of Government and Consumer Services Ross Romano said that the government is working to identify and fine those who are reselling the rapid tests.
- You might also like:
- Downtown Toronto reporting highest COVID-19 case rates in the city
- Where to get free COVID-19 rapid antigen tests in Toronto for the holidays
- Ontario reports more than 3,400 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday
“While we recognize that the vast majority of businesses and individuals do not participate in this unconscionable behaviour, our government has implemented enhanced measures to address this issue and hold those who engage in it accountable,” Romano said in a statement.
Anyone caught reselling the rapid tests can face steep fines and even jail time. If convicted in court, individuals can be fined $750, and up to $100,000 and one year in jail. A company director could face fines of up to $500,000 and a year in jail. A corporation could be fined up to $10 million.
“To date, 900 of the most egregious complaints have been referred to police forces across the province,” the statement said.
Some reselling websites have taken quick action against the resale of COVID-19-related items. A search for rapid tests on Kijiji on Tuesday yielded zero results.
“Kijiji Canada does not allow the resale of COVID-19 related items on its website. This policy was put into effect in 2020, and currently includes both COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Tests and proof of vaccination or ‘vaccine passports,’ as stated in Kijiji’s Prohibited Content policy,” a spokesperson for Kijiji Canada told Daily Hive in a statement.
The spokesperson said that Kijiji continues to work to remove posts that violate this ban.
Similarly, a search for “COVID tests” on Facebook Marketplace on Tuesday yielded no results. A search for “rapid tests” brought up tests not related to COVID-19.
The province quickly ran out of the free rapid tests being given out in LCBOs. The province’s holiday testing blitz is ongoing. Find out where you might be able to get your hands on free rapid tests by checking the schedule here. Rapid antigen tests cost $40 at Shoppers Drug Mart and other participating pharmacies.
An online seller of Health Canada authorized rapid tests has also completely sold out of their stock.
Earlier this month, the province sent home 11 million rapid tests with public school students. To date, the province says they have given out 45 million COVID-19 rapid antigen tests.