COVID Alert Available for Download in OntarioPublished on July 31, 2020
Privacy-First App Notifies Ontarians of Potential Exposure to COVID-19
MISSISSAUGA — As Ontarians continue to do their part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the Ontario government is encouraging everyone to download the new COVID Alert app on their smart phone from the Apple and Google Play app stores. Made in Ontario with a group of volunteers at Shopify, COVID Alert has been developed in close partnership with the Government of Canada. This new app lets users know if they may have been exposed to the virus. It is free, easy and safe to use. While the app is voluntary, the more people who have the app, the more effective we will be at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
To help Ontarians stay safe as the province carefully reopens, this app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other. If a user tests positive for COVID-19, they can choose to let other users know without sharing any personal information. Ontarians who receive the alert can then get tested and take action to protect themselves, their loved ones and the community from spreading COVID-19. The app does not collect personal information or health data, and does not know or track the location, name, address, or contacts of any user.
“COVID Alert is a new tool that Ontarians can install for free on their device to protect themselves, their loved ones and their community, as the government continues to carefully reopen the province,” said Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP for Mississauga-Lakeshore, and Parliamentary Assistant to the President of the Treasury Board. “This privacy-first, made-in-Ontario app is a key part of the province’s contact management strategy to help the province to quickly test, trace and isolate cases of COVID-19. 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.”
COVID Alert is a key tool to strengthen Ontario’s comprehensive case and contact management strategy, Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management. 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.
If an app user receives a message from COVID Alert that they may have been exposed to the virus, they should follow the public health advice given on the app and get tested. To notify other people if an app user has tested positive for COVID-19, they can enter their one-time key from Ontario’s test results website (Ontario.ca/covidresults) into the app. A message will then be sent to other app users who have been within 2 metres of them for at least 15 minutes within the past 14 days, without sending any information that identifies the user, or the time and place of exposure.
To stay safe, Ontarians should continue to follow public health guidelines including physical distancing with people not in their social circle, wearing a face covering if physical distancing is a challenge, washing hands thoroughly and frequently, and if anyone thinks they have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, getting tested.
- COVID Alert is available for free use and download from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
- Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, is now overseeing Ontario's efforts to lead digital and data transformation for the people of Ontario.
- All aspects of COVID Alert are completely voluntary: Ontarians can choose whether to download the app, whether to use the app after downloading it, and whether to notify others if they test positive for COVID-19.
- COVID Alert does not collect any personal information, health information, or location data. It uses Bluetooth technology to send out encrypted “keys” to other nearby app users and was built using the Apple/Google framework for exposure notification to ensure that it leverages global best practices to protect privacy.
- COVID Alert is a Digital First Smart Initiative, one of many cross-government projects that focus on better outcomes and improving the customer experience.
- The Government of Canada is also working with the other provinces and territories to get their jurisdictions on board with the app in the coming weeks and months.
- Protecting Ontarians through Enhanced Case and Contact Management
- Learn more about how to properly wear, clean and dispose of face coverings.
- Learn more about Stage 3 of reopening Ontario
- Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
Office of Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP