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Canada COVID Tracing App
Photograph: Canada COVID Tracing App

Quebec has adopted the COVID tracing app, so sign up—if you can

After nearly a week of daily reported cases of Quebec reporting daily COVID cases topping 1,000, the province has adopted Canada's tracing app.

JP Karwacki
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JP Karwacki
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If you didn't know that Canada's COVID tracing app is now available in Quebec, now you do, and you should sign up.

We won't blame you if you didn't know—Quebec had been arguing that its testing and contact-tracing capabilities were sufficient back in August—but now you know, so... again, sign up. The app is available on Google Play and Apple's App Store.

How it works

According to the Canadian government, the app uses a phone's Bluetooth to exchange random codes with nearby phones. Each day, it checks a list of random codes from people who tell the app they tested positive, and if you've been near one of those codes in the past 14 days, your phone will send you a notification. From there, you can seek out testing.

What about your privacy?

The Canadian government has stressed that the app your location doesn't collect users' names or addresses, phone contacts, health information (it doesn't ask any questions beyond if you would like a 'one-time key' for when you test positive), or the health information of anyone you are close to. "Nobody will get any information about you or the time you were near them," says the Canadian government's tracing app website on its privacy policy.

What if it doesn't work on my phone?

It should be noted that some users have reported that the app can't be used on older phones, and that restricts their access to it while minimizing the potential effectiveness of there being an app in the first place. According to an CP24 interview with Christopher Parsons, a senior research associate at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Policy's Citizen Lab, the app is inaccessible for primarily older Canadians and other marginalized groups. “The worst affected by (the pandemic) are Black, Indigenous, people of colour, people who often have a lower socio-economic bracket," Parsons told CP24. "Who's not going to be able to install the application? That same group ... that's a problem”.

To date, that issue of accessibility hasn't been solved; if you can download it, however, you should.

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