With the way the CAQ government has been handling the pandemic in the past few months, it is not surprising that Premier François Legault is now recommending for Quebecers to download and use the Canada Covid Alert App. The province has not only been the epicentre of the pandemic in the country since the beginning, it is now reporting its own record-breaking numbers, with 1364 new cases in just the last 24 hours. The predicted ‘second-wave’ expected during the flu season has not only arrived early, it may prove to be worse than the ‘first-wave’.
The Canada Covid Alert App is now available for download in Quebec – but only for those who have iPhones and recent models of Android smartphones (released in the past last five years). It does limit the number of people who can use the app, but it is estimated there is close to six million people in the province with compatible devices.
At his press conference yesterday October 5th, Legault made his pitch for Quebecers to use the app, “The greater the number of people who register, the greater success we will have in breaking the second wave. We must continue to do everything we can to limit our contacts. When someone has Covid, it is important to trace their contacts… we ask everyone to co-operate.” He then showed how easy it was and downloaded the app.
However, one of the challenges of the app is to convince people that their personal data is not compromised and used for other purposes – a fear that has been circulating across all social media platforms since the idea for a contact-tracing app was brought up a few months ago. It is a legit concern, but mostly voiced by those who also believe the 5G network is spreading the virus or conspiracy theorists who believe the virus is not real and governments around the globe are working together to control everyone. Éric Caire, Quebec’s Minister for Digital Transformation, who carefully studied the Canada Covid Alert App, concluded that it is secure and no personal data, not even the user name, was collected. “Thieves cannot steal what we’re not inputting. We can guarantee to Quebecers that it is safe to use this application,” he said and added, “The more people who download and use it, the better the results will be.”
Your secret ‘best lasagna ever recipe’, photos of your cute pet, your new haircut or ‘bad hair day’, your spanking ‘pandemic-working-from-home-pajama’ look, your romantic texts to your spouse or lover – will in all likelihood never be seen by anyone, except when you leave your phone unattended and someone in your house decides to take a quick look. In those cases, it is mostly your dignity that may be compromised. The doubts about the app are far outweighed by the benefits. The new Covid Alert app is designed to let Canadians know whether they may have been exposed to the virus. Here is why you should download the Canada Alert App and how it works (you can find out more on the Government of Canada website at canada.ca/coronavirus ).
How the Canada Covid Alert App works:
- The app uses Bluetooth signals to exchange random codes with nearby phones that also have the app installed.
- If someone you’ve come in close contact with later tests positive for Covid-19, they will receive a one-time key from their local health authority that they can enter into the app.
- You and others who have spent time (more than 15 minutes, less than 2 metres apart, over the past 14 days) near this person will then be notified through the app that you may have been exposed.
Is your privacy protected when using the Canada Covid Alert App?
Covid Alert does not collect personally identifiable information about you. It has no way of knowing: Your location, name or address. The place or time you were near someone. Your health information – and no other information is shared without your consent.
What to do if you test positive for COVID-19
You will get a one-time key to enter into the app. The app then notifies other app users that they may have been exposed. Notifications are based on having spent more than 15 minutes and less than 2 metres from another user in the past 14 days. Your identity is not revealed.
What to do if you may have been exposed to COVID-19
If the app notifies you about potential exposure, you should follow the guidance from your local public health authority.
Why you should download the APP
The app is another tool Canadians can use to help limit the spread of infection and prevent future outbreaks as we ease restrictions and restart the economy. The more Canadians who install the Covid Alert app on their phones, the better we can limit the spread of Covid-19. Download the app and help others use it too.