(Bloomberg) -- Justin Trudeau said the Canadian government will work with people from Shopify Inc. and Blackberry Ltd. to develop a contact tracing application for those who test positive for Covid-19.
The prime minister, who announced the partnership with the Canadian technology firms at a briefing outside his Ottawa residence, said users will be able to upload their test results voluntarily onto the app. Initial tests of the program will be done in Ontario; the province’s premier will offer more details later Thursday.
Shopify, which sells e-commerce software to businesses, said the app is “not a Shopify initiative” but is being developed by a group of volunteers from the company. “The national app will be owned and operated by the Government of Canada in cooperation with the provinces and territories,” said Sheryl So, a company spokeswoman.
It will be available across the country as of the beginning of July, Trudeau said. Asked about targets, the he said any usage is helpful but that results would be “extraordinarily useful” if 50% of Canadians signed up.
Positive tests would prompt the app to contact other users that had been in close proximity to the infected person and urge them to contact health authorities. The app has been developed to run in the background of the phone to avoid draining battery life, Trudeau said.
Countries around the world have struggled to implement virus-tracking apps due to restrictions on data collection built into built into smartphones by Apple Inc. and Google. Norway halted development of its app this week due to privacy concerns, while the U.K.’s rollout has been mired in bureaucracy.
Representatives from BlackBerry didn’t immediately return requests for comment.
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