2021“Test, Trace, and Isolate”: Covid-19 and the Canadian ConstitutionL. Austin, V. Chiao, B. Coleman, D. Lie, M. Shaffer, A. Slane, F. Tanguay-RenaudOsgoode Hall Law School, York University

Test, Trace, and Isolate

Contact tracing is essential to controlling the spread of infectious disease and plays a central role in plans to safely loosen COVID-19 physical distancing measures and begin to reopen the economy. Contact tracing apps, used in conjunction with established human contact tracing methods, could serve as part of Canada’s “test, trace, and isolate” strategy. In this brief, we consider the potential benefits of using contract tracing apps to identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19, as well as the limitations of using this technology. We also consider the privacy implications of different app design choices. Finally, we consider how the privacy impacts of contact tracing apps could be evaluated under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which provides a framework for balancing competing rights and interests. We argue that so long as apps are carefully constructed and the information they reveal is appropriately safeguarded, tracing apps may have a role to play in the response of a free and democratic society to the Covid 19 pandemic.