Government of Canada introduces new digital initiatives to its suite of virtual tools for COVID‑19
April 30, 2020 Ottawa, ON Health Canada
COVID-19 is a global public health challenge that continues to evolve rapidly. The pandemic has greatly changed the daily lives of people around the world, including in Canada, and in response, the Government of Canada is developing digital tools to keep Canadians safe and informed.
Today, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Health, together with the Honourable Joyce Murray, Minister of Digital Government and the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, announced two new additions to the Government of Canada’s suite of virtual tools to support the health and wellness of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Get Updates on COVID-19 is a web-based email service that provides subscribers with critical information related to the pandemic. Developed by Health Canada, the Canadian Digital Service (CDS), and Service Canada, subscribers to the service will get emails directing them to important and authoritative content on the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 website, Canada.ca/coronavirus.
In addition, the ArriveCan app, developed in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Canada Border Services Agency, has been launched across the country. It allows travellers returning to Canada to input their 14-day isolation or quarantine information quickly, easily and securely upon arrival. The app works by digitizing the information collected under the current paper form that travellers must complete. This required information includes flight or border crossing details, whether travellers are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, and whether they have quarantine accommodations.
Get Updates on COVID-19 and ArriveCan will join the government’s suite of digital tools, including the Canada COVID-19 mobile app, which features a symptom tracker, a self-assessment tool, and information on mental health and substance use support through the Wellness Together Canada portal. The app is free and available on Canada.ca/coronavirus and through the Apple App Store and Google Play.
“We continue to act to make sure Canadians have access to updated and accurate information on the virus. I encourage all Canadians to use the Canada COVID-19 mobile app and the other digital tools to stay informed, to check your symptoms and to find help if you feel unwell or unsure.”
The Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
“The collaboration happening across government and with other sectors to bring forward innovative digital solutions, such as Get Updates on COVID-19, to help address the challenges our country is facing during the COVID-19 pandemic is unprecedented. Today’s announcement is yet another example of how we are supporting Canadians and improving access to important information and resources.”
The Honourable Joyce Murray
Minister of Digital Government
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have been taking an all-of-government approach to creating solutions that help Canadians stay informed and remain healthy. The ArriveCan app is another example of how we are working together across government to find innovative ways to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The Honourable Bill Blair
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Once signed up, Get Updates on COVID-19 will send emails directly to Canadians any time there is an important information update on COVID-19. In every email, there will be a link to more information on Canada.ca/coronavirus.
During the first week of its testing phase, over 10,000 Canadians subscribed to Get Updates on COVID-19 on Canada.ca/covid19updates.
Canadians who choose not to register for the Get Updates on COVID-19 email notification service will still receive emergency notifications on their mobile phone through provincial and territorial Alert Ready text notifications or “Amber Alerts”. The email service is separate from existing provincial and territorial emergency alerts.
The ArriveCan app is an alternative to paper forms and limits physical contact between travellers and Border Services Officers and Quarantine Officers. This helps to protect both the travellers and the officers.
The ArriveCan app will not be used to automatically track people’s location through their phone or via GPS, nor is it a surveillance tool. The protection of Canadians’ information is a priority for the Government of Canada, and any tool used to collect personal information undergoes a rigorous privacy assessment.
Office of the Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Health
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