Rapid COVID-19 testing key to CFL’s return to play protocols

The CFL is working with Health Canada to make rapid testing a key part of its health and safety protocols as teams prepare to return to action this summer.

The rapid tests will be included in some provinces in the testing regimen used to keep players, coaches and staff safe. They will also be used across the country to test other personnel such as off-field officials and game-day staff.

“The Government of Canada’s provision of 60,000 rapid tests for use by the CFL is vitally important to our plan to keep our players, coaches, officials and staff safe,” commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

“It also allows us to keep our people and their workplaces safe, in the most cost effective way possible. We want to thank Health Canada and we want other employers to know this type of support is also available to them.”

The Government of Canada is making rapid tests available to employers like the CFL that either are operating or are set to reopen as part of the safe restart of the economy.

By allowing routine screening for asymptomatic workers, workplaces can proactively identify cases of COVID-19 that may otherwise have been missed, supporting employee safety and business continuity. Businesses can use this portal to learn how to access rapid tests.

Rapid testing as a screening tool is another layer of protection against COVID-19. Rapid testing along with other public health measures, such as mask wearing, hand hygiene, physical distancing, proper ventilation, using the COVID Alert app, and vaccination, can help to further protect Canadians from the virus as the economy reopens.

“We at the CFL encourage everyone to get vaccinated when it’s their turn,” Ambrosie said. “But we also know that we must not rely on vaccination alone to keep people safe. That’s why the rapid testing that has been supported by Health Canada is vitally important to the CFL”

Governors representing the CFL’s nine member clubs voted this week to return to play after a hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. The first game of the new  season on  August 5th is a rematch of the 107th Grey Cup, featuring the defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. It  will be the first CFL game since November, 2019.

When training camps reopen on July 10, rapid testing will be an important part of the league’s health and safety protocols.