Federally-backed COVID alert app is now available in Ontario

Parliament Hill

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

The app is now only live in Ontario, launching weeks after a test-run across the province was delayed.

The COVID Alert app is now available in Ontario and aims to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"Please everyone download the app and help do your part", said Premier Doug Ford during his daily media briefing on Friday.

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, Fedeli's office emphasizes.

"We know other provinces will be joining in soon", Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, encouraging people across the country to download the app right away. It only works to identify COVID-19 positive people if they have the app.

The COVID Alert app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other.

"The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be", Ford said.

The app is created to be fully effective if people have already been using it for at least two weeks before they test positive for COVID-19. The app will then send out notices to every phone that has been within two metres for at least 15 minutes of the phone of the person who tested positive over the previous 14 days if they, too, have downloaded the app. It has also bee backed by the federal government.

"I want to be clear - this app isn't mandatory. Contact tracing will continue to be performed manually by local public health authorities", the government said in a statement.

The app uses Bluetooth technology to detect when users are near each other.

"By making it easier for Ontarians to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities, we continue to deliver on our commitment to build a smarter government that works for you".

The app was originally developed by the Government of Ontario and the federal Canadian Digital Service has worked with Shopify and Blackberry on the new software, which Apple and Google have teamed up to offer.

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.