The failure of the Covid Alert app deployment was attributed by the Department of Health to Canadians’ low level of trust in the Trudeau government.
The majority of Canadians, according to department officials who wrote a report, did not trust Ottawa to not acquire their private information, according to Blacklock’s Reporter.
“Trust in government is clearly an issue. When asked if they believe the government does not collect their personal information and that it does not allow the Government of Canada to determine their location more than half of survey respondents, 52%, did not believe the government,” the report read.
“In another study Canadians who indicated they had not downloaded the app cited ‘not trusting the privacy of the app or the government’ (34%) and not wanting government to access location data (29%) among the top three reasons for not downloading the app.”
Two years after its launch, the Covid Alert app will be permanently shut down, the federal government stated earlier this month.
Despite the marketing efforts of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, only 21% of mobile phone users downloaded the app while it was available.
During the Covid Alert App launch in June 2020, Trudeau claimed “In fact, health experts say that if enough people sign up, this app can help prevent future outbreaks of COVID-19 in Canada.”
“If we can talk about a 50% uptake for example, or more, then it becomes extraordinarily useful.”
Despite the lack of users, demands for an expansion of the initiative were made to the federal government in May 2021 after an advisory group advised using the tracking software for additional reasons.
“The Government of Canada has begun to broadly consider how the Covid Alert app could potentially extend beyond a government service to Canadians and the public health systems towards a tool that will also support Canadians and businesses in our economic, social and mental health recovery and restoration,” the advisory council claimed.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, admitted to reporters earlier this month that the app was a total failure because it was rarely used so it had to be shut down.
“Although the app strictly adhered to privacy principles and was seen by many internal and external key informants as one of its key strengths, Canadians’ privacy concerns and distrust of the government potentially collecting personal or location information through the app was also seen as one of its biggest challenges,” the Department of Health report wrote.