COVID-19 app, backed by federal government, now available

Canada's COVID Alert App

Canada's COVID Alert App

The voluntary app tells users if or when they have been in close contact with another user who has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The initial rollout is only in Ontario now but officials are encouraging Canadians across the country to download the app in anticipation of more provincial and territorial health authorities signing on to use the new software.

"We expect they'll be coming on board soon as well".

Once users download the app, all they have to do is select their province to begin. "It was developed in consultation with the privacy commissioners of Ontario and Canada to ensure the highest level of privacy".

If a user tests positive for the coronavirus, they will receive a diagnosis key from a public health official to enter into the app.

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Ontarians who receive an exposure alert can then get tested and take action to help keep themselves, their families, and their friends from spreading COVID-19 throughout the community. The app supports the efforts of public health units, allowing the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19 to stop the spread of the virus and prepare for any potential outbreaks ― without sharing any personal information. The federal government is working with other provinces to make it available to residents across the country.

"Canadians can opt to use this technology knowing it includes very significant privacy protections", said Therrien in a statement.

"Based on our review of the app and acceptance of our recommendations, I am satisfied that there are strong measures built in to help protect individual privacy", Kosseim said.

"Even though the system is still rolling out in some areas, Canada recommends all Canadians install the app, which can be downloaded from the iOS App Store. iOS 13 is required for Exposure Notification apps, as iOS 14 does not support the API".

A previous version of this article said Shopify designed the app in partnership with Blackberry. "They were totally aware that there's going to be some hesitancy with people using this app", said Dr. Isaac Bogoch on CTV News Channel.

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