Snapshot: FEDTalks - Beyond 2020 in action

Featuring Lucie Vignola
By Christine Jean-Baptiste

Headshot of Lucie Vignola
Lucie Vignola

This year, as we are all learning how to adapt and work during a pandemic, leaders from across the public service came together to participate in a virtual edition of FEDTalks: Beyond2020 in Action.

This three-day event hosted in November and organized in 12 different segments brought in professionals from the Public Service to share their stories and insights on how the Government of Canada is navigating the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working in the virtual world during a health crisis is difficult but was made possible with various digital tools.

Lucie Vignola, Director General of the COVID-19 Taskforce, Health Canada, closed out the second day of FEDTalks with a segment on How COVID Digital Health Tools are making a big difference for Canadians.

Although this segment was only 30 minutes, it was rich in information.

As Vignola has been working closely with Health Canada, she said there's an urgent need to share information with Canadians through reliable and trusted sources.

This is why “Health Canada created digital tools to provide information in a way that is accessible and possible to all Canadians,” she said during her segment at the FedTalks: Beyond 2020 in Action.

Since March, to answer all coronavirus related questions, the COVID-19 Taskforce team has taken a coordinated approach through the website and other digital tools to communicate COVID-19 related information to all Canadians.

For example, the team launched a website, a virtual assistant, a Wellness Together portal, and a COVID-19 Alert app.

“As the crisis evolved we needed to amend the ways we communicated and amend the ways we responded to Canadians,” she said.

Not only did those digital platforms allow space for detailed guidance on social distancing, travel during the pandemic, and COVID-19 related symptoms, these digital tools also provided information on domestic violence, substance abuse, free mental health resources, and CERB.

“We really made the coronavirus website the place to go to, to be able to provide information to Canadians on a regular basis,” said Vignola.

The COVID-19 Taskforce team also coordinated a full advertising campaign to reach the private sector, schools, retail stores, and banks. In collaboration with, they were able to reach a younger audience by advertising their campaigns on social platforms like Twitch, Spotify, and Instagram, just to name a few.

With over 5.4 million downloads, one of the most used initiatives to limit the spread of the coronavirus in partnership with the Canadian Digital Services is the COVID-19 Alert app.

“What I keep saying is that it's an additional tool. You're about to walk out of the house, you grab your mask, you grab your hand sanitizer, you maintain your physical distance and you have your app on your phone,” Vignola explained. “It’s the tool that is going to tell you if you've been exposed or if you need to get tested.”

However, none of these initiatives would have been made possible without collaboration. All of these digital tools were a team effort, with help from Health Canada, Ontario Digital Services, BlackBerry, the Canadian center for cybersecurity, Shopify, private sectors, developers from around the country, and more.

“Every step of the way there was a lot of collaboration, not only in terms of communication products but how we coordinated and maximized our advertising to get the word out there,” she said.

To close out the segment on How COVID Digital Health Tools are making a big difference for Canadians, Vignola reminded viewers to help protect themselves, their families, and their communities.

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