Town of Vegreville Supports Federal COVID-19 Mobile App

Town of Vegreville Supports Federal COVID-19 Mobile App

Michelle Pinon
News Advertiser

The Town of Vegreville would like Alberta Health to allow residents to have access to the federal COVID-19 mobile application.

Members of town council passed a motion at its Dec. 8 legislative committee meeting to send a letter  to Health Minister Tyler Shandro requesting the Government of Alberta to enable the Government of Canada COVID-19 Alert application for Albertans.

Originally, City of Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland made the request to the health minister, and in turn was asking other municipalities to also support the request. In his letter, Copeland said eight provinces and territories have opened the app for access within their jurisdictions and over five million Canadians have now downloaded the application.

Copeland also stated in the letter, “The City feels that the more Albertans who voluntarily download and use a tracing application capable of operating across all provinces, the quicker Albertans can react to information and assist with curbing the spread of the COVID-19 virus, which will assist in quicker economic recovery efforts.”

Vegreville Mayor Tim MacPhee told fellow councillors he personally asked the Premier during a telephone town hall about why our app is not working? “He basically said because no one is signing up for it. So, I don’t know why people are not, but I don’t think we should be out on an island as a province here neither

Part of his answer was they adopted this app because Singapore used it and it was very effective there. But they have a different form of government there where they don’t ask citizens to download an app, everybody downloads it. So in view of that and lack of response were see in this province with signing up for the app we should send a letter to the province to go along with the other provinces and territories and have a singular app to use in the country.”

Councillor Tina Warawa said she didn’t have an issue with sending the letter, but in her personal opinion that if they were having trouble getting people to download the provincial app people in this area would be even less responsive to downloading the federal app. So I know personally I’d have to think twice before I’d eve’ download the federal app.”

MacPhee responded by saying, “My hope would be that it would start dialogue back and forth and people who hate the federal government my do it in spite of it. Let’s stir the pot a bit. Let’s try to get people using this app. Either one of them would be better than having none.”

MacPhee said he also asked the Premier if he had any other tools to get more people to sign up for the Alberta app, but he said no, and all that he can do is ask Albertans to sign up. “It’s free. It doesn’t go against privacy issues. Facebook is more concerning than this app,” added MacPhee.

“I would say having two poorly subscribed apps is not ideal but if we can coalesce with the rest of the country that makes sense. At least by trying to coordinate efforts across the country is effort well spent,” said Councillor Taneen Rudyk.

“I have asked people in the community to download the app…for something that’s free it could be a life-changing moment for someone in your family,” noted MacPhee.

Coun. Rudyk said they need to move on to meet the needs of citizens, and that it’s not for “Big Brother” watching us, but to make people aware of who they’ve come into contact with and to be able to remedy that. “It’s not territorial, this is about people’s best interest.”