COVID-19 contact tracing app now available

Ruben Fields
August 1, 2020

It is free, easy and safe to use, states Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli's office.

"I've downloaded the app this morning, and I encourage you to do the same".

Premier Doug Ford announced the release of Canada's new COVID-19 tracing app in Ontario on Friday.

The app was developed in consultation with the Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario to ensure the highest level of privacy for everyone using it.

"This app does not replace contact tracing - a critical public health function".

The app's goal is to help stop the spread of the virus, although it is not mandatory to have.

The app uses Bluetooth to exchange random code with nearby phones, the product description says.

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The new record-keeping expectation won't apply to take-out customers, and businesses will only have to share the information with a medical officer of health or health inspector. The government describes it as an exposure notification app - not a contact-tracing app - as it does not track personal data.

"This Ontario-made app keeps people informed about being potentially exposed to the virus and allows them to act quickly to stop the spread of the virus".

In an effort to assuage privacy concerns the government has formed an 11-member advisory council of external public health, mobile app, data security, epidemiology, and privacy experts that will be regularly reporting to the government to "inform decision-making with respect to the app".

COVID Alert is a key tool to strengthen Ontario's comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management.

Use of the app is voluntary, however, officials - including Trudeau - have said the more people who use it, the better it will work. "We expect they'll be coming on board soon, as well", he said.

The federal government stressed that Canadians' privacy will be protected. And if you have been in contact with anyone who tested positive, you will also be notified.

The app considers close contact being an interaction that lasts at least 15 minutes and occurs at less than two metres apart, which will be determined by the strength of the signal from each device within that interaction.

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