The federal government has launched a new app that aims to provide Canadians with the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
The free app, known as Canada COVID-19, provides a brief rundown of what the virus is, how it spreads, prevention mechanisms, and reminds users what the primary symptoms are and how to get help when needed.
The app was available on both Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store as of Wednesday.
It will give users travel advice and flags warnings. It also links to the government’s proposed financial support programs for businesses and the individuals.
Among the services offered includes explanations on what constitutes physical distancing and how to practise proper hand hygiene, and explicitly states that the government has not legally approved or endorsed any product or treatment to cure Covid-19
The content listed in the app was developed by Health Canada, in partnership with Thrive Health – a software company based out of Vancouver.
A note when registering reads, “The information you provide will be anonymously used to coordinate Canada’s response to COVID-19.”
It requires users to give their preferred language and province or territory of residence when first signing on. Beyond this, users can provide health information when utilizing the self-assessment tool.
In Thrive’s data collection notice, it states the app is granted authority to gather information under Section 4 of the Department of Health Act.
Thrive Health has to abide by strict data and privacy laws, using the personal information given only for the purposes of supporting Health Canada and provincial governments in managing COVID-19. They will not disclose or retain your personal information for any other purpose
Hajdu also said that over the next several days the government will roll out a previously announced mental health digital toolkit that will “help Canadians with a significant increase in distress as many of us are feeling in this uncertain time.”