EDMONTON -- The provincial government is offering rapid antigen COVID-19 testing kits to all chambers of commerce in Alberta to help non-profits and businesses screen for the virus.

The partnership is a first in western Canada and will allow not-for-profits, small, and medium businesses to gain access to free rapid test kits.

Local chambers of commerce province-wide will help distribute the tests. Membership is not required in a chamber to be eligible.

Businesses can apply for the program after they create a COVID-19 screening, testing, and reporting plan for AHS to approve. Once approved, tests will be provided free of charge but organizations need to incur all medical and legal responsibilities associated with them.

Training resources are provided online for businesses to learn how to use the tests.

“This partnership gives businesses another leg up to move our economy forward,” Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.

“By making it easier to access rapid testing kits when and where they need them, we are providing businesses with a vital tool to protect their workers and the Albertans they serve.”

Minister of Health Tyler Shandro said in a statement that the program will help to limit the spread of COVID-19 in worksites throughout the province.

“Rapid screening enables us to catch cases early and stop them in their tracks, thereby protecting both Albertans and our health system,” he said.

While rapid screening kits are not designed to provide definitive case testing, any positive results should receive a follow-up PCR test with AHS for confirmation.

Results of tests will be reported back to AHS and the local chamber of commerce for the participating business.