The federal government is introducing another measure to try and fight COVID-19. A new contact tracing app for Canada will soon be launching across the country. However, it's completely voluntary to use.
Justin Trudeau announced on June 18 that a COVID-19 contact tracing app is on the way to help notify people if they've come into contact with the virus.
This is led by the Canadian Digital Service with the help of Shopify, Blackberry and the government of Ontario.
Other provinces have been working with the federal government on this app, including B.C.
Before the app goes nationwide and becomes available to everyone in Canada in early July, it will first be tested in Ontario.
"I want to stress that this app will be completely voluntary," Trudeau said.
So nobody will be forced to download and use it. Every Canadian will get to decide if they get it or not.
However, Trudeau noted that the app will be most effective when as many people as possible use it.
He said if there's a 50% uptake or more, it becomes "extraordinarily useful."
"At no time will personal information be collected or shared and no location services will be used," Trudeau said. "The privacy of Canadians will be fully respected."
He also explained how it works.
If you test positive for the virus, a health care professional will help you upload your status anonymously to a national network.
After that, other people who have the app and have been in proximity to you will be alerted that they've been exposed to someone who has tested positive.
The notification sent out will encourage them to reach out to their local public health authority.
The app works everywhere across the country, even if you travel out of your home province, and over 30 million smartphones in Canada will be able to download it.
There is a database of randomized, anonymized codes divided into two columns, tested positive and not tested positive.
If you test positive, a code will be plugged in.
So, if your phone was in or gets in close proximity with another phone, the codes interact and you'll get notified.
Trudeau said that other apps from around the world haven't worked well but this one is different because Apple and Google have put out operating system upgrades that allow the app to work in the background.
"So, you don't have to do anything around this application other than download it," he said.