Press release: Louise Arbour and Louise Otis to head COVI Canada

Montreal, May 26, 2020 – The Honourable Louise Arbour and the Honourable Louise Otis join the COVI mobile application project, respectively as Honorary President of COVI Canada and Chair of its Board of Directors. COVI Canada is the new independent non-profit organization that will protect the privacy and human rights of citizens who download the COVI application.

“COVI Canada has a well-defined mission to protect the health, privacy and dignity of citizens. The application provides tools to empower citizens to take action on their personal well-being and that of our society. Its governance model is built around the core values of accountability and transparency. I believe in this project and am pleased to join in supporting the fight against COVID-19,” said the Honourable Louise Arbour.

“The COVI application was developed by a coalition of experts in epidemiology, medicine, psychology and artificial intelligence. According to Oxford University, the approach used by COVI is the most effective in containing the pandemic and could have a significant impact on the number of lives saved. Moreover, it is a technological solution that will be open and accessible to all and which places the protection of human rights at the heart of its approach,” added the Honourable Louise Otis.

The application will enable every citizen to make real-time decisions about their daily activities, empowering individuals to protect themselves, limit the spread of the virus and facilitate a smart and safe lifting of social distancing measures. In terms of public health, COVI identifies risk areas for targeted local interventions before there is an outbreak, and helps to better understand how the virus is transmitted through an epidemiological model powered by artificial intelligence.

COVI Canada is committed to ensuring that the data collected is never used for commercial purposes or sold to private companies. Nor will the data be used for surveillance or quarantine enforcement purposes. The data will be stored in Canada and deleted on a regular basis.

Developed by Yoshua Bengio and his collaborators, the COVI application adheres to the Montreal Declaration for the Responsible Development of AI and was developed with the support of UNESCO.

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About Louise Arbour

The Honourable Louise Arbour sat as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada from 1999 to 2004 and was the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004 to 2008. She recently completed a term at the United Nations as Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration. Ms. Arbour has also served as ad hoc judge in the International Court of Justice and as Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda.

About Louise Otis

The Honourable Louise Otis is Adjunct Professor at the Faculty of Law of McGill University. Former Justice of the Quebec Court of Appeal from 1993 to 2009, she spearheaded the introduction of judicial meditation. She regularly participates in international missions related to governance and justice reform. She is also President of the OECD Administrative Tribunal and the Appeal Tribunal of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF).

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COVI Canada


Diep Truong, Exergue Communications

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