OTTAWA -- The federal government has launched a new app that aims to provide Canadians with the most up-to-date information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

The free app, known as Canada COVID-19, provides a brief rundown of what the virus is, how it spreads, prevention mechanisms, and reminds users what the primary symptoms are and how to get help when needed.

The app was available on both Google's Play Store and Apple's App Store as of Wednesday.

It gives users travel advice and flags warnings. It also links to the government’s proposed financial supports for businesses and the public.

It includes explainers on what constitutes physical distancingand how to practise proper hand hygiene, and explicitly states that the government has not illegally “approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.”

“This app is just one more way that we can give Canadians information that they are seeking during this outbreak. We are going to continue to reach out to Canadians in any way possible, so that we can work together to flatten the curve,” said Health Minister Patty Hajdu at a ministerial press briefing in Ottawa on Wednesday.

The content listed in the app was developed by Health Canada, in partnership with Thrive Health – a software company based out of Vancouver.

A note when registering reads, “The information you provide will be anonymously used to coordinate Canada’s response to COVID-19.”

It requires users to give their preferred language and province or territory of residence when first signing on. Beyond this, users can provide health information when utilizing the self-assessment tool.

In Thrive’s data collection notice, it states the app is granted authority to gather information under Section 4 of the Department of Health Act.

“Thrive Health will only use your personal information for purposes related to supporting Health Canada and your province in managing COVID-19, and will not disclose or retain your personal information for any other purpose,” reads the statement.

Hajdu also said that over the next several days the government will roll out a previously announced mental health digital toolkit that will “help Canadians with a significant increase in distress as many of us are feeling in this uncertain time.”


A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Canada COVID-19 app requires users to provide their name when they activate it.