Establishing A Testing Site

All organizations seeking to become a provincial HIV point of care (POC) testing site must apply to the Ministry of Health to participate in the program. To apply to become a POC site, contact the HIV and Hepatitis C Programs of the Ministry of Health at [email protected].

Legislative Authority to Test in Ontario

HIV testing is governed by Ontario legislation. Testing someone falls under Ontario’s Regulated Health Professions Act (1991), as well as the Laboratories and Specimen Collection Centre Licensing Act (2022). Under these pieces of legislation, physicians, nurse practitioners and nurses have the authority to perform HIV point of care testing. In other circumstances, sites must establish a Medical Directive.

Medical Directives

Testing someone is one of Ontario’s legislated Controlled Acts and can only be done by a regulated health care professional in Ontario. (Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991) Regulated professionals authorized to conduct testing can extend their authority to do HIV testing through a written order that lays out the criteria under which others can perform testing. The authority to deliver point-of-care testing has been expanded to include nurses with new provincial legislation enacted in July 2022.

Testing Competency

Testing sites must meet the POC program’s requirements for quality and competency, which are consistent with international standards for point-of-care testing. Sites are required to train all personnel performing testing and maintain a series of quality assurance procedures as laid out by the ministry for both the testing materials and maintaining testing proficiency among staff.

When an organization has confirmed their authority to deliver HIV POC testing (i.e. through a medical directive), and has been approved by the ministry to participate in the POC program, they can begin implementing their program. (See Next steps).

Information on Outreach Testing and Partnerships is available here.