As we continue to deal with the health and economic impacts of the pandemic, we need to work together to contain the virus. Millions of Canadians are downloading and using the free COVID Alert app in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Today, the Minister of Health, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, and the Minister of Digital Government, the Honourable Joyce Murray, announced that the COVID Alert app will be updated to help measure its uptake, performance and effectiveness in limiting the spread of COVID-19. This will be done through the collection of certain metrics, while maintaining strong privacy measures to protect confidentiality.
COVID Alert will collect aggregate metrics on:
- the number of active users and downloads per province or territory;
- the number of exposure notifications sent;
- the number of users who enter a one-time key after receiving a notification; and
- technical performance to help ensure the app is working correctly.
The app continues to uphold strong privacy measures, and does not track a user’s location or collect personally identifiable information. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner was consulted on this new metric collection and is satisfied with the safeguards in place, which will continue to protect Canadians’ privacy.
With this update, these new metrics will start being collected on a go-forward basis, with a phased implementation over two weeks, starting on February 9. Update the app and see how COVID Alert works, with user statistics being published on Canada.ca/COVIDAlert in spring 2021.
The Government of Canada continually reviews and improves COVID Alert. Updates are based on public health guidance, provincial and territorial needs, user research, feedback, and updates to the underlying framework by Apple and Google.