FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BC Chamber of Commerce recently penned a letter to B.C. health officials calling on the Provincial Government to provide free rapid tests for small and medium-sized businesses.

Fort St. John Chamber Executive Director, Cheryl Montgomery says that having a rapid testing program is crucial due to the type of workforce in Northeast B.C.

“A rapid test program up in the north is critical because we have a lot of workers that are flying in, flying out, and moving from different areas of the province in and out of the Northeast. It’s important that we’re able to get these testing methods in place,” Montgomery explained.

“We just have a really mobile workforce up here. They’re moving around a lot and we have workers coming in from different regions and workers leaving this region to go to different regions. We need to make sure that the workers coming in are safe and the workers leaving are safe.”

In their letter, the B.C. Chamber says their chamber network has been ready, willing, and able to replicate a program similar to one between the Ontario Government and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce here in B.C. and says they’ve asked that the government work with them to enact it.

“Businesses are now facing new restrictions and the possibility of major workforce shortages due to the increasingly widespread transmission of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant. By enabling businesses to take a leading role in a point of care rapid screening program, the government can add an additional layer of protection for workers and customers to ensure that our economy can continue to function, and our communities remain as safe as possible,” said the B.C. Chamber.

View the full letter below: