Business & Finance
Ontario Government Invests in TraceSCAN Wearable Contact-Tracing Technology to Help Protect Workers from COVID-19
19 February 2021 - - The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade has endorsed and agreed to provide CDN 2.5m in non-dilutive funding to TraceSCAN, the COVID-19 wearable contact-tracing solution developed by Canadian technology ecosystem Facedrive Inc's (TSX Venture: FD) (OTCQX: FDVRF) Facedrive Health business, the company said.

While the company intends to provide an update with further details, a Ministry Announcement from February 18, 2021 endorsed Facedrive's TraceSCAN.

In the statement, The Ontario government said is providing Facedrive Inc. with CDN 2.5m through the Ontario Together Fund to accelerate the deployment of its wearable contact tracing technology, TraceSCAN, which alerts users within a workplace who have been in close contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19.

The company anticipates manufacturing about 150,000 devices under this project and creating 68 new jobs, including software, firmware and hardware engineers and machine learning specialists.

Facedrive developed TraceSCAN's made-in-Ontario AI-powered solution, which can track staff exposure to COVID-19 without GPS information, in partnership with the University of Waterloo.

Workers simply wear the device and the wearable technology will communicate with others within a workplace environment. If users are less than six feet apart, the device beeps to alert the users.

If anyone in the working premises reports COVID-19 positive, HR or health and safety officials can log in to the online reporting dashboard and see who they have been in contact with and their risk level, then send an exposure notification.

Contact tracing will be made simple with all of the close proximity contact having been recorded.

The technology is designed to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 for workplaces and settings where smartphone use is limited or prohibited, such as airlines, schools, construction sites, and long-term care homes.

It will add another layer of safety and protection through identification and isolation of new COVID-19 cases, tracing back the interactions and helping to stop the contamination, the government statement said.

TraceSCAN has already been deployed in multiple pilot projects, leading to the successful adoption of the technology in real-world settings. Some of the businesses and organizations that are using TraceSCAN include Air Canada, LiUNA and Waywayseecappo First Nation.

The province's initial pandemic response was to procure available stock, the majority of which was from international sources.

Over the course of the pandemic, efforts to develop Ontario-based production has resulted in a shift to 74 per cent of PPE purchases being domestically produced (by procurement value).

Key categories such as N95 respirators, surgical masks, face shields, wipes, disinfectants and hand sanitizer are all domestically produced at production sites in Ontario.

Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province's stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and PPE.

This technology and manufacturing capacity will help the province to combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.

The government launched the CDN 50m Ontario Together Fund to help businesses retool their operations to produce PPE and develop technology-driven solutions and services for businesses to reopen safely.

Businesses and individuals looking to help in the fight against COVID-19 can submit their proposals through the Ontario Together portal.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters' Ontario Made program is helping the province's manufacturing base regain and recover revenues lost due to COVID-19 by encouraging manufacturers and producers to register and promote their products on the site and use the Ontario Made logo.

The Workplace PPE Supplier directory provides businesses with information on personal protective equipment suppliers.