Government of Ontario
Ministry of the
Solicitor General

FAQ – First Responders COVID-19 Risk Look-Up Web Portal

FAQ – First Responders COVID-19 Risk Look-Up Web Portal

GENERAL INFORMATION
 

  1. I need help with the First Responders COVID-19 Risk Look-Up Portal. Who should I contact?

    Inquiries may be directed to the COVID-19 Enforcement Support Line. Please call the following number: 1-866-389-7638. Assistance is available Monday to Sunday, from 8a.m. EST – 9p.m. EST.

    To ensure the line can effectively respond to inquiries, the ministry requests that information associated with the support line not be disclosed to the general public.
     
  2. What information is included in the portal?

    The portal contains confirmed positive test results (beginning on April 1,2020) for individuals who qualified for and have undergone a COVID-19 test. An individual who is included in the portal is never removed, even if they have subsequently recovered.

    Fire personnel should continue to conduct point of interaction risk assessments and take other appropriate precautions when interacting with members of the public.
     
  3. Does the Ontario government certify the information in the portal to be completely accurate and up to date?

    The Province of Ontario does not warrant that the information available through Portal is complete, accurate, or up-to-date.  The information is not intended to be relied upon as a definitive indicator of whether an individual has COVID-19 at the time of interaction.

    Having access to COVID-19 status information is only one tool to assist frontline personnel with taking appropriate precautions. Individuals who are positive for COVID-19 may not have had a positive test, information about positive tests may not be available immediately, and individuals may be able to spread COVID-19 without showing any symptoms.  Thus, it is important to continue to exercise caution and seek advice from local public health units on precautionary measures to take during interactions with members of the public.
     
  4. What are some of the considerations with respect to the information contained within the portal? 

    Please note the following considerations regarding the information contained in the portal:
    • It may take up to four days for test results to become available;
    • The information in the portal is only updated once a day and does not reflect real-time testing information;
    • Individuals who have tested positive may no longer have COVID-19; 
    • An individual who is included in the portal is never removed;
    • Individuals’ addresses may be recorded inconsistently;
    • An address for a multi-unit building may have a positive case but not at the relevant unit; and
    • There may be individuals at an address who do not reside there.


APPROPRIATE USE OF PORTAL
 

  1. What are the parameters with respect to the use and disclosure of information contained within the portal?

    The Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMCPA) requires that information shared pursuant to O. Reg. 120/20 only be used to prevent, respond to, or alleviate the effects of the emergency. The EMCPA also requires that any information-sharing authorized under the emergency order occur in a manner that limits its intrusiveness.

    The portal is only intended tobe used to look up the COVID-19 status of individuals that members of the fire service will encounter or have encountered during the declared emergency as a result of responding to calls for service, for the sole purpose of supporting frontline fire personnel in making informed decisions about whether they need to take additional precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

    The portal must not be used to advise any individual about its contents for unauthorized purposes (e.g., disclosures to heads of council or public health units for informational purposes). For greater certainty, searches of the portal should not be conducted to ascertain the number of individuals in a municipality or region that appear on the portal and such information, if already obtained, should not be shared; such a use of the portal is not consistent with the requirements of the EMCPA in the ministry’s view.

    It is imperative that fire chiefs protect the sensitive personal health information in the portal.
     
  2. Why is there sometimes a significant discrepancy between the number of positive COVID-19 cases being reported by local public health units and the number of persons on the spreadsheet based on the portal?

    Previously, the portal contained the COVID-19 status of individuals who qualified for and have undergone a COVID-19 test that was determined to be not negative(e.g., incomplete and indeterminate test results).

    As of April 25, 2020, the ministry has improved the data quality of the portal. It now only contains confirmed positive test results (beginning on April 1, 2020) for individuals who qualified for and have undergone a COVID-19 test.  An individual who is included in the portal is never removed, even if they have subsequently recovered.

    Please note the following considerations regarding the information contained within the portal:
    • It may take up to four days for test results to become available;
    • The information in the portal is only updated once a day and does not reflect real-time testing information;
    • An individual who is included in the portal is never removed.
    • Individuals who have tested positive may no longer have COVID-19;
    • Individuals’ addresses may be recorded inconsistently;
    • An address for a multi-unit building may have a positive case but not at the relevant unit; and
    • There may be individuals at an address who do not reside there.
       

The ministry continues to work to improve the portal including the quality of data available and will share further updates as available.

  1. If someone is presumed positive and is initially placed on the list, but then has a negative test result, are they removed from the list?

    No, they are not removed.
     
  2. If an individual has recovered from COVID-19 are they removed from the list?

    No, they are not removed.


PRIVACY AND SECURITY
 

  1. Is there an audit logging function available for the portal?

    The ministry has instituted an audit logging function that will track all user activity on the portal and flag any queries that are deemed to be inappropriate use of the portal (e.g., broad municipal-based searches). Where such inappropriate use of the portal is confirmed, the ministry may revoke access to the portal for the user who violated the terms of service or the entire group of users affiliated with the fire service.

    Furthermore, the ministry may report suspected unauthorized portal access or use/disclosure of information from the portal to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario.
     
  2. I need to investigate a suspected unauthorized access or use. Can the ministry provide me access to a user’s activity?

    The ministry will, on request of a fire chief, provide a copy of an authorized user’s audit logs for the purpose of investigating unauthorized access, use or disclosure or pursuing discipline.

    If you need access to a user’s activity log, please contact the COVID-19 Enforcement Support Line at 1-866-389-7638.
     
  3. What is the ministry doing to secure access to data in the portal?

    The ministry has only allowed individuals who perform communication and dispatch functions to access the portal. Those individuals have been issued with a user name and password to access the portal.

    All activity on the portal is tracked by the ministry. Where inappropriate access or queries of the database is identified, the ministry will make the appropriate notifications and support investigation into the conduct. The ministry also can revoke access and suspend user privileges.
     
  4. If someone in the fire service misuses the portal, what could the result be for that individual?

    Please note that if fire personnel misuse the portal or information from the portal, it could result in rights to the portal being revoked. Furthermore, it would be up to individual fire chiefs to determine if additional disciplinary action should be taken against any fire service member who has their access revoked. It is also a provincial offence for any person to willfully disclose personal information in contravention of the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (MFIPPA) or Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA).
     
  5. I want to download or export the list data in the portal. How do I do that?

    For privacy reasons, those functions are not permitted. Please refer to the appropriate usage statements provided in the User Guide.


TROUBLESHOOTING
 

  1. I do not have a user account for the First Responders COVID-19 Risk Look-Up Portal. Can you help me create one?

    Access to the portal is only being provided to authorized users. Authorized users are individuals identified by the fire service and who perform a communication and dispatch function. 
     
  2. My fire service has identified me as an authorized user and I perform a communication and dispatch function. Can you please provide me access to the portal?

    Please contact the COVID-19 Enforcement Support Line at 1-866-389-7638 and provide the ministry with the name of your fire service, your surname, first name, email address and job title. A person at the ministry will get back to you as soon as possible.
     
  3. I forgot my password and/or I am locked out because I tried unsuccessfully to login in more than four times. Can you help me?

    Please contact the COVID-19 Enforcement Support Line at 1-866-389-7638 and provide the ministry with your user name, first name, surname and email address and the fire service that you are calling from. A person at the ministry will get back to you as soon as possible.
     
  4. I have the URL for the portal, but it is still not working. Can you help me access it?

    If the URL used is correct and the site is still not found, one should consult their local IT support personnel.
     
  5. When will system maintenance be performed and how will authorized users be notified?

    When system maintenance is required, a notice will be posted on the website and an email to all users will be sent in advance.