Ontario Government Hoping to Start Contact Tracing for Construction Workers

ontario government contact tracing

While the construction industry has been known to adopt technology at a slower pace, COVID-19 presents an immediate problem that may require contact tracing as teams get back to work. In order to be a useful and successful tool for the industry, contact tracing will need to be immediately available and immediately implemented, with as little training required by as few people as possible. A contact tracing tool that identifies who is at risk will empower management to confidently make decisions to keep their teams safe according to Construction Executive.

Per Toronto CTV News, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stated that the province will join in a nationwide smartphone app program which will help people working here to trace contacts of people infected with COVID-19 as the infection continues to rise.

Ford said the province is out looking for a suitable application for Ontarians to download onto their phones. This would alert them if they came into contact with a person who later tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. This app must be for the entire country and not just Ontario.

Construction Dive has stated that the public-facing contact tracing application under development by Apple and Google relies on Bluetooth technology to determine the proximity of nearby smartphones, alerting participants to possible exposure. The application requires user opt in and user identity is not shared with Apple and Google. That information is left to public health authorities.

Another application called Work.com was recently announced by Salesforce, which offers technology solutions and a central command center geared toward managing and monitoring a return to work. The solutions include employee wellness assessments, contact tracing, emergency response management and grants and volunteer management. 

Per Public Health Ontario, up until now, COVID-19 tracing has been done by Ontario's public health units. Public health units will continue to lead this essential work.


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The COVID-19 Contact Tracing Initiative is a process where if you have COVID-19 or have had contact with someone who has the virus, a Public Health of Ontario representative may contact you during your self-isolation to ensure you are following the requirements, check in about symptoms, and connect you with additional supports as needed. If necessary, our representatives may connect you with a local public health unit for further assessment.

According to Global News, experts agree that extensive contact tracing is necessary to reduce the spread of the virus as the country cautiously reopens bit by bit.


"We really need to up our contact tracing so that we can figure out where things are coming from. That's how you shut down an epidemic, you shut down transmission from one person to the next."

Ontario Medical Association | Dr. Samantha Hill


A number of provinces have looked at developing their own contact tracing apps. Alberta is already using one. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said he supports a national, co-ordinated approach.

Federal contact tracers are already helping public health authorities in Ontario - more than 200 of them are helping trace contacts of positive cases.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said they're ready to make thousands more calls a day when any province asks. Statistics Canada has also provided 1700 interviewers who can make 20,000 calls per day to help with contact tracing efforts.

A second wave of the virus is not a matter of it, it's a matter of when. As Canadian Medical Association president Dr. Sandy Buchman said, a second wave of COVID-19 is "inevitable."


"There's never been a pandemic in recorded history that didn't have a second wave, and often that second wave is even worse than the first. Re-opening in a way that minimizes deaths and cases can be done with "good data" and that good data comes from testing extensively, to find out exactly where new cases are coming from."

Canadian Medical Association President | Dr. Sandy Buchman


Global News has stated that for contact tracing to be effective, Canada also needs to step up its testing for the virus. Canada nominally has the capacity to test 60,000 people per day for COVID-19 but has been averaging only about 28,000 tests per day.


Editor's note: This is, indeed, a confusing time for the construction industry. DataBid is working tirelessly to report and distill the news that can help you and your company make the right decisions and keep you up to date on the constant changes as they are made. We hope our coverage brings some clarity amid all the confusion.

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Posted by Judy Lamelza

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