Residents of Ontario can now obtain a brand new app that may inform them whether or not they have been close to somebody who has examined constructive for COVID-19 over the earlier two weeks.
However whereas authorities officers say the purpose is to make the COVID Alert contact notification app accessible throughout the nation and are in talks with different provinces, they can not state but when will probably be accessible exterior Ontario. The Android model will be discovered right here.
Additionally they have not defined why just one province has agreed to undertake what was imagined to be a nationwide app.
COVID Alert is the federal authorities’s newest transfer within the battle to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 as Canada’s financial system progressively reopens. This is the way it works:
- You begin by downloading the app to your smartphone.
- That can permit the telephone to make use of Bluetooth expertise to alternate indicators with close by telephones.
- If somebody exams constructive for COVID, their public well being authority will give them a one-time key to enter into the app.
- The app will then ship out notices to each telephone that has been inside two metres of the contaminated individual’s telephone for at the least 15 minutes over the earlier 14 days — so long as these different telephones additionally carry the app.
- Those that obtain a notification will obtain directions on what to do subsequent.
Officers say that the app will change into simpler as extra folks obtain it — they usually stress that it is a notification app, not a contact-tracing app.
App is voluntary
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has downloaded the app.
“I need to be clear — this app is not necessary,” he advised reporters. “It is fully voluntary to obtain and to make use of.”
Watch: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau explains new COVID Alert app
Different provinces, comparable to New Brunswick, have labored to develop their very own apps. Alberta launched a contact tracing app referred to as ABTraceTogether on Might 1.
Trudeau mentioned the federal authorities is near figuring out an settlement with the Atlantic provinces to combine their methods with the app. The federal authorities says it can also be speaking with different provinces and territories about integrating their methods however hasn’t indicated when different provinces may undertake the app.
Whereas anybody throughout Canada can obtain the app, they are going to obtain alerts solely if they’ve been close to somebody who has examined constructive in a province that has built-in the app with its testing system, and who has downloaded the app.
Whereas the Android model requires customers to activate their location settings, officers keep the app won’t know a person’s location, title or tackle. It additionally will not monitor precisely when the person was close to somebody who examined constructive, or whether or not they are at the moment close to somebody who has examined constructive.
For customers of Apple gadgets, the app works on the iOS 13.5 working system and newer methods. Meaning the app won’t work on some older smartphones, and a few customers may must improve their working methods.
Officers mentioned the federal government has been working with federal Privateness Commissioner Daniel Therrien’s workplace to deal with any privateness considerations.
Therrien endorsed the app on Friday, saying that he plans to obtain it himself.
“Canadians can decide to make use of this expertise, understanding it consists of very important privateness protections,” he wrote in a press release.
Ontario Data and Privateness Commissioner Patricia Kosseim agreed, saying her workplace’s evaluation discovered robust measures to guard privateness.
“I help using publicity notification expertise to assist management the unfold of COVID-19, offered it’s utilized in the way in which it has been designed to respect the privateness of Ontarians,” mentioned Kosseim. “This app will solely work if folks belief their private data shall be protected and select to make use of the expertise.”
Therrien and Kosseim mentioned, nevertheless, that their endorsements are conditioned on the app’s use being voluntary and the federal government persevering with to watch it.
Elizabeth Thompson will be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org