Every Friday, we publish a weekly update on COVID-19 and its effect on business. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Announces New Mobile App to Notify Canadians of COVID-19 Exposure

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced the upcoming launch of a new Canada-wide mobile app to provide notifications of exposure to COVID-19. Beta testing is scheduled to begin in Ontario within the coming weeks. Per the Government of Canada website:

The app, originally developed by the Government of Ontario, will help Canadians and public health officials identify and isolate the spread of the virus more quickly, which is an important step toward containing the virus and safely restarting the economy.

The use of the app will be voluntary. If someone tests positive for COVID-19, a health care provider will give them a unique temporary code, so they can upload their status anonymously to a national network. Other users who have downloaded the app and come in contact with that person will be notified, through the app, that they may have been exposed to the virus. The app will also provide users with information on steps they can take to keep themselves and others safe, and we are working with the provinces and territories so they can customize public health information based on their own jurisdiction.

The Canadian Digital Service is leading the development of the app, in collaboration with the Ontario Digital Service and building upon technology developed by Shopify volunteers. The app will undergo a security review by BlackBerry. It incorporates Bluetooth technology provided by Apple and Google to anonymously record instances where users have come into close contact. To protect confidentiality and privacy, the app will not disclose the identity of users. This information will never be shared with any other entity, will not be stored by the app, and will never leave the user’s phone. No personal information is collected by the app, and it does not track the user’s location to ensure the privacy of all Canadians.

The app will be available to Canadians for free download in the coming weeks, with health authorities in Ontario being the first to distribute the unique, temporary codes to people who test positive for COVID-19. We are working with the other provinces and territories to make it available in their jurisdictions as well. We anticipate other provinces and territories will come on board in the coming weeks and months.

The Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments will continue to work together to restart our economy through a gradual and phased approach while protecting the health of all Canadians.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Provides Remarks on Additional Measures for Canadians and Businesses amid COVID-19

Video Transcript:

Hello everyone.

This morning, I am at the Biscotti & Cie café and restaurant in Chelsea, in the Outaouais region.

A few moments ago, I had the chance to speak with the owner, Manuela, about the challenges she is facing because of the pandemic.

In addition to Biscotti & Cie, Manuela also heads the Chelsea Pub and the Lofts du Village, a hotel project opening later this year.

Restaurants and tourism are obviously two of the sectors that have been hardest hit by the crisis.

And, like a lot of entrepreneurs across the country, Manuela had to slow down her business and make a number of changes to continue serving her customers.

At Biscotti & Cie, they changed their menu to make it easier to order take-out and put new protocols in place to protect their customers and employees.

But buying personal protective equipment and making delivery arrangements, on top of buying food, and paying bills and employees—it’s expensive.

All across the country, a lot of people are experiencing the same thing.

Business was going well and then, all of a sudden, the pandemic forced businesses and restaurants to close. Entrepreneurs had to delay or even cancel their plans and projects.

Our government understands how difficult this situation is, so we have created a number of programs to help people get through this crisis.

For example, Manuela used the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy to rehire close to 75 employees. And with the reopening of the Chelsea Pub’s patio and dining room, she thinks she may be able to rehire even more people.

Manuela is also benefitting from a rent reduction thanks to the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance.

Small business owners create jobs, fuel the growth of our economy, and enrich our communities. 

And our government is here for them when they need help the most.

As we start to reopen parts of the economy, our government will continue to be there to help Canadians get back on their feet.

And we’re making progress every day.

In April, we announced a $9-billion plan to help students and recent grads get through the crisis.

An important part of this plan was to create jobs for young people in sectors that need an extra hand and today, I have some good news to share.

We’re creating 500 green jobs and training opportunities for young people in STEM in the energy, forestry, mining, earth sciences, and clean technology sectors.

Ranging from six months to a year in length, these internships will give young people invaluable work experience and the chance to explore careers in the natural resource sector.

As life starts getting back to normal, Canadians can count on our government to continue working with the provinces and territories to bring in the right measures to keep Canadians safe and healthy, and reopen the economy safely. 

Last night, the First Ministers, the Deputy Prime Minister, and I held our 14th weekly call.

We talked about the Government’s proposal to provide $14 billion to address critical needs across the country over the coming six to eight months.

This is money that could be used to offer more childcare spaces, increase testing and contact tracing, and keep people safe on the job.

We want to work with the provinces and territories to implement these measures as soon as possible and make sure we don’t lose the progress we’ve made.

We also talked about the upcoming launch of a new nationwide mobile app to provide notifications of exposure to COVID-19.

As I mentioned yesterday, we will soon begin testing the app in Ontario, but it will be available to everyone across the country in the coming weeks.

I want to end today by reminding everyone that Sunday is Father’s Day.

This is always a special time to get together with family and enjoy the warm weather – two things we’ve been missing over the past few months.

All provinces and territories have started loosening some restrictions that probably make it easier to celebrate with dad this weekend.

As you start making plans, please be sure to follow the public health guidelines for your region.

This is the best way to keep you, your dad, and the whole family safe, and have a great time on Sunday.

And to all the dads out there – happy Father’s Day!

Remember…

While the coronavirus continues to spread quickly, it is important to remember that only a small percentage of patients need special treatment to recover. Trusted health experts continue to emphasize that the general population shouldn’t panic and should instead focus on practicing proper hygiene, such as hand-washing and refraining from touching the facial area.

Stay up to date on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) by visiting the World Health Organization and the Government of Canada website.

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