Following Canada’s decision to ban TikTok from federal government-issued mobile devices Monday, most provinces have either followed suit or are considering implementing a similar ban on the video app.
The ban came about a week after Canadian officials said they were launching an investigation into TikTok’s use and collection of its users’ personal information.
Federal officials maintain there is no evidence of TikTok being used for surveillance or to indicate any government data has been compromised.
Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board, said Monday the decision to ban the app was a cautionary move.
“The decision to remove and block TikTok from government mobile devices is being taken as a precaution, particularly given concerns about the legal regime that governs the information collected from mobile devices, and is in line with the approach of our international partners,” she said in a statement.
WHICH PROVINCES HAVE BANNED TIKTOK FROM GOVERNMENT PHONES?
Quebec’s minister of cybersecurity and digital technology, Eric Caire, announced a ban of TikTok from government-issued mobile devices as of Tuesday.
“The ban is preventive in nature and there is no evidence that a foreign country is spying on government employees through this application,” Caire said in a statement.
Alberta’s government said the province banned TikTok from staffers’ devices “after an analysis of the risks presented by TikTok to government security and the integrity of government decision-making,” according to a statement to CTV News from Premier Danielle Smith’s office.
The governments of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan announced Wednesday a similar ban on the installation and use of TikTok on government devices. Saskatchewan said the ban would remain in effect pending the results of a threat assessment by the federal government.
B.C.’s minister of citizens’ services, Lisa Beare, said Monday in a tweet the province would also be issuing a TikTok ban.
“Effective immediately, the TikTok app will not be permitted from government-issued mobile devices. Protection of government data and networks is a top priority for this Ministry. B.C. has an expert team dedicated to protecting systems from intrusions and security risks,” Beare tweeted.
Due to recent concerns that have emerged regarding this particular platform, and out of an abundance of caution, we feel it is prudent to temporarily ban the use of the TikTok app on government-issued mobile devices as we continue to examine the risks associated with the app.
— Lisa Beare (@lisabeare) February 28, 2023
Sarah Stoodley, Newfoundland and Labrador’s minister of digital government and service, said Wednesday the maritime province would join other provinces in banning TikTok from government devices beginning Thursday.
“The security of our networks and data is top priority, and we will take all necessary measures to ensure its integrity. This is a proactive step to safeguard the people and data we protect,” Stoodley said in a release.
Even some municipalities are following in the federal government’s footsteps. This week, the City of Calgary said it is banning the app from staffers’ devices, and the City of Ottawa announced it too would be looking into banning the video app.
Other provinces appear to be weighing whether they should implement a TikTok ban. Ontario’s government says it’s considering it, while New Brunswick says it is looking for more information from Ottawa, and Manitoba officials say they are in contact with the feds about whether to ban the social media app.
It’s unclear if the governments of Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut have plans to follow suit with the federal government’s TikTok ban.
With files from Senior Digital Parliamentary Reporter Rachel Aiello, CTVNews.ca Writer Melissa Lopez-Martinez and The Canadian Press.