Federally-backed COVID alert app is now available in Ontario

The on-boarding process is simple and explains how the app works

Google also explains why it requires that an Android device's location setting be turned on to use Exposure Notifications - even though apps built using the API are explicitly forbidden from also collecting location data.

On Friday, Google said the first of the USA apps would be released in the "coming weeks".

How do I download the COVID-19 Alert app?


"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.

The "COVID Alert" app aims to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in Canada by notifying a user when they have been in close contact with another user who tested positive for the virus.

"If that's the case, it will then encourage you to call your provincial health services for guidance on what to do", Trudeau said.

"Please everyone download the app and help do your part", said Premier Doug Ford during his daily media briefing on Friday. Talks are ongoing with other provinces to come on board in the coming days, including New Brunswick and British Columbia.

Alphabet Inc's Google said on Friday that 20 USA states and territories, representing about 45% of the country's population, are "exploring" contact tracing apps for the novel coronavirus using a tool it developed with Apple Inc.

In order to trace someone's exposure, the app uses Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones. "You'll get a notification if a code you received matches one of the positive codes", the website states.

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.

No personal information from the user is collected by the app and does not track the name or location of the user. The federal government is working with other provinces to make it available to residents across the country.

BlackBerry did a security review before the app was launched.

Officials said the government has been working with federal Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien's office to address any privacy concerns.