Health Canada announces changes to COVID Alert app

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Published February 9, 2021 at 11:05 pm

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Health Canada has announced changes are coming to the COVID Alert app.

With millions of downloads, Canadians have embraced using the app as a way to mitigate the spread of the virus.

On Tuesday (February 9) Patty Hajdu and Joyce Murray, Ministers of Health and Digital Government, announced the app will be updated to help measure its uptake, performance, and effectiveness in limiting the spread of the virus largely through the collection of certain metrics—however, it will still adhere to privacy measures to protect confidentiality.

“With these new performance metrics, we are still prioritizing privacy while increasing our understanding of the apps’ effectiveness on reducing the spread of COVID-19,” Hadju said in a news release.

Moving forward, the app will track several different metrics, including 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 the technical performance to help ensure the app is working correctly.

However, the app will not track a user’s location, nor will it collect personally identifiable information.

“The updates to this secure, easy-to-use digital tool will help us better understand how the app is helping to slow the spread of this virus and protect the health and safety of Canadians,” Murray said in the same release.

“The more of us who use the app, the more effective it will be, so I encourage all Canadians to do their part and download COVID Alert today,” she continued.

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