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Ontario shouldn't re-invent the wheel with a COVID vaccine validation app, says developer

Ontario shouldn't re-invent the wheel with a COVID vaccine validation app, says developer

A Canadian developer of a free platform used by businesses for COVID-19 contact tracing and customer symptom data says Ontario needs to develop its own solution to verify residents' COVID vaccination status, rather than develop their own App needs to be developed. should be used.

“We are already a trusted brand in Ontario and across the country,” said Asif Khan, CEO of Ground Level Insights, which released the Canatrace contact tracing application to businesses last November.

"Today more than eight thousand businesses are already using Canatrace. It's a huge brand like Starbucks. Every OnRoot Highway restaurant in the province, the OLG (Ontario Lottery and Gaming) casino, the National Gallery in Provincial Park, Ottawa Like federal buildings... already use Canatres.

"Why go and try and do something where you have to reinvent the wheel versus a brand and a trust that's already built with consumers?" He asked.

“We appreciate the fact that Ontario recognizes the need for some digital way for people to present their digital vaccine certificates. We think they need to have a broader view of what businesses really need. This includes contact tracing, symptom screening, negative test results and vaccine certificates.”

"We believe that consumers have the right to manage their own COVID-19 and other health credentials and do so at no cost to them or to businesses that need to keep their workplaces safe."

Canatrace is free, Khan said, and his company doesn't get any revenue from its use.

Khan's remarks today come after Ontario announced on Wednesday that it is developing a QR-based digital proof of vaccination certificate to be presented for entry into certain indoor businesses and locations. The app will be available on October 22. Meanwhile, residents can submit a paper copy of their COVID-19 vaccination history from September 22.

The provincial app needs to connect to the government's COVID-19 vaccination database. Access that CanaTrace does not currently have. CanaTrace lets organizations digitally access mentor and employee COVID-19 contact tracing data such as names, emails, phone numbers, as well as answer screening questions. Users scan a QR code customized for each business, which downloads a questionnaire to fill out.

In response, Khan said that Vector Health Labs, which is about to acquire Canatrace, has a partnership with Identos, a Canadian mobile identity and access management company. Identos' solutions are used by many hospitals in healthcare mobile applications.

The CanaTrace platform includes a digital wallet for holding data on users' smartphones. Ontario has been vague about how its vaccine validation app will work.

In a background document the province said vaccination status information "may be stored on a mobile device, such as an Apple Wallet."

A finance ministry spokesperson was asked on Wednesday whether the province was developing its app alone or with third parties. We had no response as of press time.

The spokesperson was also asked to respond to Khan's comments shortly after the interview this morning.

It's not clear why Ontario is taking two months to develop the app, which it calls a vaccine certificate, not a passport.

According to The Globe and Mail, the province had plans for a digital verification app using QR codes by December. At Wednesday's press conference, Premier Doug Ford was asked why the government had not moved forward. “We wanted to make it simple,” he replied before referring the question to Kalid Rashid, Ontario’s associate minister for digital government.

Rasheed said, “We are launching this program, a specially designed QR code and a provincially designed app, which will be a very secure and a very privacy-protected app for individuals. Will allow you to use this app to view and scan to gain access to your businesses. The Ontario Digital Services team is working round the clock to make sure we have a solid product by October 22nd."

British Columbia, Manitoba and Quebec also have verification apps. Quebec officially launched its QR-based VaxiCode Verif app this week, but it wasn't without teething problems. A Montreal newspaper said last week a group of hackers claimed they were able to obtain the QR codes of Premier Fran├žois Legault and other politicians using an early version of the app. Separately, a computer programmer was able to show Radio-Canada that it was easy to fool the app into giving a fake person proof of vaccination.

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