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Quebec expected to announce it will not ask citizens to use federal COVID-19 notification app

Quebec expected to announce it will not ask citizens to use federal COVID-19 notification app-Milenio Stadium-Canada
A man wears a face mask as he browses on his phone in a shopping mall in Montreal. A federal notification app called COVID Alert is available across the country, but for now is only operational in Ontario. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

 

Quebec will not ask its citizens to download the federal COVID-19 notification app for now, officials are expected to announce this afternoon.

The government told Radio-Canada it believes the tracing system it is using now is adequate, given that there has been a slowdown in the number of cases reported in the province.

There are also questions regarding how many Quebecers would download the app.

The government said it would not be opposed to changing its mind if outbreaks of the illness worsen.

The announcement is expected at a 1 p.m. ET news conference, when Health Minister Christian Dubé, Public Health Director Horacio Arruda and Éric Caire, minister responsible for digital transformation, will address the media.

Launched by the federal government on July 31 — and so far only operational in Ontario — the COVID Alert app is designed to warn users if they’ve spent at least 15 minutes in the past two weeks within two metres of another user who later tested positive for the coronavirus.

The app, which works on Apple and Android devices made in the last five years, has received positive reviews from privacy advocates, but myths persist about the data it collects — and doesn’t collect.

Experts in both technology and public health stress that the more people who use it, the better it will be.

COVID Alert-Milenio Stadium-Canada
The federal government’s COVID Alert app is built on COVID Shield, seen here, an open sourced tool developed by a group of volunteers from Shopify. (COVID Shield)

CBC

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