Government delays launch of COVID-19 contact tracing app in Ontario

The app was supposed to roll out on July 2nd

The government has delayed the launch of its ‘COVID Alert’ contact tracing app, which was supposed to roll out in Ontario on July 2nd.

A spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health told MobileSyrup in an email that the province is continuing to “work with our federal partners on the launch of COVID Alert and while we expect it to launch shortly it won’t be made available today.”

The province hasn’t provided a new date regarding the app’s launch.

Once it does launch, Ontario will be the first province to test COVID Alert. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously announced that the app would launch in the rest of the country in the coming weeks.

Trudeau has stressed that the app is completely voluntary, and that it is up to Canadians to decide if they want to download it. However, he has noted the app will be most effective if as many people as possible download it.

If someone has tested positive for COVID-19, a healthcare professional will help them upload their status anonymously to a national network. Other users who have downloaded the app and have been in close proximity to them will be alerted that they’ve been exposed to someone who has tested positive.

The app uses Apple and Google’s notification API, which uses Bluetooth technology to share randomized codes with other nearby smartphones, which can’t identify users. Apple and Google’s API is being used in several countries, including Australia, Denmark, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Both Premier Ford and Trudeau have stated that privacy was the number one priority when it came to selecting an app.

Image credit: Ontario Ministry of Health