Millions Across Canada Now Using Made-in-Ontario COVID Alert App
Province Working with Private Sector to Encourage More Users to Help Keep People Safe
October 15, 2020
TORONTO — The Ontario government is working with some of the most influential brands in Canada, including Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, to encourage more people to download the made-in-Ontario COVID Alert app and help protect people across the country from the pandemic. To support businesses large and small, the government is launching a new webpage that will provide them with the tools they need to promote the app and build on its success to-date.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, and Jamaal Magloire, Canadian NBA All-Star and Toronto Raptors team ambassador.
“One of the best and simplest ways to protect you, your family and people around you from COVID-19 is to download the made-in-Ontario COVID Alert app,” said Premier Ford. “We have already seen tremendous support from all corners of the province ― and the country ― with millions doing their part. I am proud to say that the Prime Minister, my fellow premiers, mayors and CEOs from some of Canada’s largest institutions are stepping up. I encourage everyone to participate because we need all of us pulling in the same direction to make this COVID Alert app work.”
Today, Nova Scotia joins Ontario, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and almost 4.5 million Canadians, in this national effort to download the COVID Alert app and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Ontario is working with major employers from a variety of sectors, from banking and insurance to large retailers, telecommunications, media and entertainment companies, to promote the COVID Alert app. Over the Thanksgiving weekend, the Toronto Raptors, the Toronto Argonauts, Toronto FC and the Toronto Maple Leafs used their voice to encourage people across the province to download COVID Alert to protect themselves and their loved ones.
COVID Alert has also been promoted by other private-sector partners, including:
- Bell Canada
- Bruce Power
- Canada Life
- Sun Life
- TD Bank
- The Globe and Mail
Additional support for the app is being provided by:
- Ontario Chamber of Commerce
- City of Toronto
- City of Ottawa
- Residential Construction Council of Ontario
- Canadian Armed Forces
- Restaurants Canada
- Ontario Energy Board
- Ontario Pension Board
- OP Trust
- Ontario Power Generation
These organizations are leading by example and encouraging their employees, members, and customers to download the app by reaching out through advertising and social media campaigns.
“As our government continues to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are committed to developing digital tools to help stop the spread,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board and Minister Responsible for Digital and Data Transformation. “I’m echoing the Premier’s call for people and businesses across our province to support our government’s efforts in combating this virus by either downloading or encouraging those around them to download this free, voluntary, and easy to use app.”
More than 1,130 one-time keys have been entered by app users in Ontario who have tested positive for COVID-19, in turn notifying Ontarians of potential exposure to the virus and allowing them to take necessary public health precautions.
“Protecting the health and well-being of all Ontarians is and always will be our government’s top priority,” said Minister Elliott. “While following public health guidelines continues to be the best way to protect yourself and your community, the COVID Alert app helps support our contact tracing efforts and is another tool in our fight against this virus.”
The COVID Alert app is one more way Ontario is leveraging the power of technology to deliver more convenient, more reliable and more accessible programs and frontline services to the people and businesses of Ontario.
- The COVID Alert app became available for download from the Apple and Google Play app stores in Ontario on July 31, 2020.
- All Ontarians are encouraged to download the COVID Alert app for free from the Apple and Google Play app stores.
- The more people who have the app, the more effective the province will be at stopping the spread of COVID-19.
- The COVID Alert app is compatible with the vast majority of smartphones owned by Ontarians. With close to 90% of Ontarians having access to a smartphone, almost all of them should be able to download the app.
- Ontario was the first province where people could confirm a COVID-19 diagnosis in the app, notifying other app users in a privacy-protected way.
- One of the app’s key strengths is its focus on privacy: the app was developed in consultation with the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada and Ontario, does not track or trace users, and does not store users’ personal information, health information, or location data.
- The app does not replace manual contact tracing by local public health authorities. It complements these efforts by helping more Ontarians get notified more quickly when they’re exposed to COVID-19 ― so they can follow public health advice and self-isolate, get tested, and slow the spread of the virus sooner.
- Work on the COVID Alert app was initiated in Ontario by the Ontario Digital Service and Shopify and was the foundation for the Government of Canada’s app launch.