App that notifies Canadians of potential COVID-19 exposure now available

Health Canada’s COVID-19 contact tracing app goes live Friday

The COVID Alert app became available for download on Friday.

The app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, will notify you if you've come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

A COVID-19 smartphone app, backed by the federal government, has launched.

The app works by assigning a random code to a users device and pings other users devices within a 10-metre radius through Bluetooth.

The COVID Alert app comes as much of the province is now in Stage 3 of reopening and is meant to assist with contact tracing and providing people an opportunity to self-isolate to get tested if they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Anyone receiving such a notification is directed to contact their local health authority for instructions.

The apps development began with the Ontario Digital Service and volunteers at Shopify, and was the foundation of the work by the Government of Canada, the province said in a release.

Ontario is the first province to sign on to the federal government's exposure-notification app.

"I want to be clear: this app isn't mandatory", he told reporters. "It's completely voluntary to download and to use", Trudeau said. "And it doesn't collect your name, address, geolocation, or other personal information".

The app can be downloaded by anyone in Canada on Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store, but now only those in Ontario can report a diagnosis through the app.

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The Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario Patricia Kosseim agreed that the app could be an important tool to help control the spread of the virus in Ontario.

Canadians from across the country can download the app, but only health authorities in Ontario will be distributing those one-time keys, for now. The key codes will be given by healthcare providers to patients who receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. "I encourage all Ontarians to download and use the app, as the more people who use the app, the more it will help to stop the spread of COVID-19".

Because the positive test result is reported to the app by the user, rather than public health officials, the government characterized the app's use as voluntary.

When CTV News contacted B.C.'s ministry of health for an interview to answer questions like when the app would be activated in this province, officials emphasized the app should be referred to as "a contact notification app" rather than a contact tracing app.

The health information of anyone you're near.

He said that EI premiums won't be raised.

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

However, the Canadian government does store users' IP addresses for a period of three months to two years, in what it says is a standard protocol for protecting against cyber attacks.

COVID Alert does not use Global Positioning System or track your location. The app then tells them what course of action to take. "Once uploaded, the random codes are stored on the server for 15 days, after which they are automatically deleted".

"This is an app that puts your privacy first", Ford said.

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