Canada's 'COVID Alert' App Using Apple's Exposure Notification API Now Available

Canada today released a new COVID-19 contact tracing app called COVID Alert, as noted by iPhone in Canada. COVID Alert takes advantage of Apple and Google's privacy-focused Exposure Notification API to alert people when they've come into contact with someone who has the coronavirus.


As with all COVID-19 contact tracing apps, COVID Alert uses Bluetooth to exchange random, anonymized codes with nearby phones, determining how close someone is by the strength of the Bluetooth signal.

canadaexposurenotification
If someone with COVID Alert tests positive for the virus, they can opt to enter that information into the app, and each person they've been in contact with will then receive an alert. COVID Alert collects no location information or personally identifiable data, and was built by Health Canada with the Canadian Digital Service.

COVID Alert has no way of knowing:

- your location - COVID Alert does not use GPS or location services
- your name or address
- the place or time you were near someone
- if you're currently near someone who was previously diagnosed

According to the app's description, provincial and territorial governments are working to support COVID Alert across Canada, and in some places, people can't yet report a COVID-19 diagnosis. At the current time, health authorities in Ontario are distributing one-time keys to people who are diagnosed with the coronavirus, and other territories and provinces will be "coming on board soon."

Even though the system is still rolling out in some areas, Canada recommends all Canadians install the app, which can be downloaded from the iOS App Store. iOS 13 is required for ‌Exposure Notification‌ apps, as iOS 14 does not support the API. [Direct Link]

Multiple countries have built apps using the ‌Exposure Notification‌ API so far, including Switzerland, Latvia, Italy, Germany, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Ireland, Croatia, and Denmark.

Several U.S. states are working on apps that use the API, including Alabama, North Dakota, and South Carolina, but no contact tracing apps that take advantage of the tool have been released in the United States to date.

Top Rated Comments

gk4 Avatar
24 months ago

Hard pass. Just more fear-porn.
You're afraid of an app that literally does nothing but sit in the background and log BT ID's of devices you've come in contact with. I think the fear porn is coming from the people who are against this app.
Score: 23 Votes (Like | Disagree)
torontotim Avatar
24 months ago

Hard pass. Just more fear-porn.
Yup - clearly the 'no mask, no worries, this is all a hoax' approach is working wonders in the US.
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vailMike Avatar
24 months ago
i miss the old days when it was just assumed USA as a world leader would have this app and we could advise other countries on improving their communication/health/recovery. So sad having to read through the list of countries that have implemented the Apple/Google API and not seeing USA as one of them as our death toll for COVID keeps rising and now is over 150k people.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ViDeOmAnCiNi Avatar
24 months ago
Sure wish there was just a universal COVID-19 tracing APP that you can install and use anywhere in the world. Since it's all bluetooth talking it should be limited to the people you come into contact with in your area. USA is way behind on these types of apps. like asked above, maybe can be used generically?
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mr. Heckles Avatar
24 months ago

I'm in Ontario and it's not working on my iPhone running iOS 14. The COVID-19 Exposure Logging setting doesn't allow me to turn it on, citing "Not available in your region".
This is why:
Even though the system is still rolling out in some areas, Canada recommends all Canadians install the app, which can be downloaded from the iOS App Store. iOS 13 is required for Exposure Notification apps, as iOS 14 does not support the API.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jpn Avatar
24 months ago
japan is one of the countries that uses the google/apple developed Exposure Notification API.

on the japan ministry of health's (the developer of the local tracking app) page you can learn two data points:
1 the number of downloads to date of the local app that uses the google/apple API
2 the number of positives that persons infected have chosen to share

on july 31 as of 17:00, the number of downloads in japan of the local app was 9,960,000, and the number of shared positives was listed as 92.

the number of downloads in japan is growing by about 1 million per week.

there is no noticeable degradation of daily battery life on my phone since installing this.
countries which have released non-google/apple api versions are finding daily heavy battery life problems.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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