This research will help us understand public perceptions and behaviours. This data will inform:

  • Public health messaging and risk communication
  • Outbreak control strategies
  • Transmission models

The data will be used for theses, journal and conference articles, as well as presentations to public health officials, clinicians, academics and the public.  However, no data will be presented which allows for identification of individual participants.

Potential Risks

This project does entail a very small degree of risk for you as a participant. While the Ethica system and this project are designed to minimize these risks, the project coordinators cannot absolutely guarantee that there will be zero risk. By consenting to participate in this study, you have not waived any right to legal recourse in the event of research-related harm. Participation in this project is completely voluntary. Participants may opt-out for any reason without any judgment or consequence. Ethica modifications include location-sensing features that are controlled (enabled/disabled) by the phone user. The project facilitators will not monitor for information connecting participant location with an illegal act, however, if such information is stumbled upon, facilitators are obligated to comply with all law enforcement agencies inquiries regarding access to our data.

The pause button option accessible on the Ethica main screen will help to minimize any risk associated with location information. This snooze button feature puts participants in control of when they do not wish to have your location tracked or receive surveys. Participants may stop data collection at any time by clicking the “Leave the study” button” and removing their data from the study. Ethica does not have access to personal information on cell phones including contacts lists, emails, websites visited, or information from other apps including for example, banking apps.

In accordance with the law in Saskatchewan, do not use your smartphone while driving a motorized vehicle. Using a hand-held cellphone while driving is prohibited in Saskatchewan for making or receiving phone calls, sending, receiving or reading text messages, sending, receiving or reading emails, surfing the Internet (reference: Saskatchewan Government Insurance SGI Handbook, section 3.2 Distracted driving).

If participants experience distress at any time during the study, we encourage them to reach out to the following sources of mental health support:


All project coordinators listed on this document commit to maintaining appropriate participant confidentiality. All data will be presented in aggregate and participants will not be identified in any publications. Finally, we commit to not publish any representation of the data which could lead to de-anonymization and to hold any others with access to the data to the same undertaking. For more information on the app’s privacy policy please click here.

Storage of Data

Data security is taken very seriously and will be protected in this project on multiple levels. The project design relies upon technical strategies for data protection, voluntary participation and informed consent of all participants and allowing participants to opt-out for privacy. The data will be encrypted while on the participant’s phone. Once information is collected it will be transmitted over WIFI to be stored on a secure server at the Ethica Data Corporation. Data will be de-identified prior to analysis by removing personally identifiable information and assigned participant ID numbers to each set of data. A master-list containing names and participant ID numbers will be for our records only and will be stored in a locked cabinet at the University of Saskatchewan for a period of 1 year after the conclusion of the study. The research data transferred to the researchers will be stored on Ethica servers only to be accessed by named participants on this proposal. Data will be stored for a minimum of five years post-publication, after which time it will be deleted.

Right to Withdraw

Your participation is voluntary, and the consent process continues throughout the project honoring the commitments made by the project coordinators and the participants. Please answer only those questions that you are comfortable with and decline to answer any particular question(s) you are not comfortable with. You are welcome to ask any questions at any time regarding the procedures and goals of the project or participant’s role. At any time during the study, you are free to withdraw, without explanation or penalty of any sort. Participants may stop data collection at any time by clicking the “Leave the study” button” and removing their data from the study. Participants can choose to have some or all of their data removed from the study. The deadline to request withdrawal of data from the study will be one month after participation in the study has ended.

Join the Study

If you are interested in participating in the study, please click on the following link or scan the QR Code below. The link will take you to the Ethica app, where you can begin the study.

QR code linking to study