Over the past several months, Canadians have been following public health advice and doing their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Now, as we take steps to ease restrictions and safely restart our economy, we need to continue to work together to contain the virus and keep Canadians safe and healthy.
The Government of Canada has been working in close partnership with the Province of Ontario to launch the COVID Alert app. Health authorities in Ontario are the first to begin distributing one-time keys. The federal government is also working with the other provinces and territories to bring their jurisdictions on board in the coming weeks and months.
The federal and provincial governments have announced that COVID Alert, a new national mobile app, is now available for free download. The app, first developed in Ontario, helps notify users if they may have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
“I am proud of the fact that this Ontario-made app will now be available to individuals and families right across the country,” said Premier Doug Ford. “It will be another powerful tool to help us stop the spread of this deadly virus and keep people healthy and safe. I encourage everyone to download it onto your handheld device, it is free, easy to use, and the responsible thing to do.”
Use of COVID Alert is voluntary, and serves as another tool to help limit the spread of COVID-19. App users who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a one-time key from their health authority that they can enter into the app. When the key is entered, COVID Alert will notify other users who may have come in close contact with that person for at least 15 minutes in the past 14 days, so they can contact their local public health authority for guidance.
To safeguard the confidentiality and privacy of all Canadians, the app uses strong measures to protect any data it collects, and does not track a user’s location or collect personally identifiable information. The Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario were consulted on the development of COVID Alert, to ensure the highest level of privacy for Canadians using the app.