Markham

COVID-19 Virtual Assistant launched on Access Markham mobile app

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

News Page


MARKHAM, ON – July 8, 2020 – As Canada’s high-tech capital, the City of Markham is proud to announce that it has added its COVID-19 Virtual Assistant to the Access Markham mobile app. This allows the City to scale up its capacity to provide reliable, consistent and accurate information about the novel coronavirus around the clock – helping the public stay informed, safe and healthy as the City continues to reopen.

The Access Markham mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or by visiting markham.ca/MobileApp.

In addition to life-saving COVID-19 information, the Access Markham mobile app also provides easy access to your recycling and garbage collection schedule with personalized notifications, a What Goes Where tool, Markham Life magazine, interactive maps for walking and cycling and more.

“This further reinforces our commitment to deliver exceptional services to our residents, ensuring you can get quick and accurate information to keep you safe,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “As the economy continues to rebound, we need to stay informed on the latest rules, regulations and developments; and the Virtual Assistant is a new and powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19. It is ready to answer all your questions in real time, from any device, as we move together safely toward recovery.”

The City of Markham became the first Canadian municipality to leverage IBM Watson™ Assistant for Citizens to respond to the pandemic when it officially launched the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant on April 29. This virtual assistant combines IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding capabilities with IBM Watson Discovery technology to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19. It also draws information daily from the City of Markham, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health and York Region Public Health websites. The Virtual Assistant is constantly learning and being trained through machine learning to improve answer quality with each user session.

Using this Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, the City is able to adapt its communications to topics people are searching for most and meet the needs of the community.

No smartphone? No problem. In addition to the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, the City of Markham also offers a COVID-19 Telephone Assistant that can be reached at 1.833.926.0929.

Markham’s Contact Centre continues to respond to inquiries about municipal services and programs at customerservice@markham.ca and 905.477.5530, Monday to Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.

For more information and updates about COVID-19 and affected City services, visit markham.ca/covid19.

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Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti's Office:
Lama Nicolas, Senior Communications Advisor at lnicolas@markham.ca or 416.671.2890.

All other media inquiries / interview requests for the City of Markham:
Jennifer Yap, Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations at jyap@markham.ca or 437.229.2450.

For COVID-19 announcements from the City of Markham:

Visit markham.ca/covid19 or listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.

About Markham: Markham, an award-winning municipality with over 355,000 residents and the largest of nine communities in York Region, is home to over 400 corporate head offices and more than 1,500 high tech and life science companies. Markham is a leader in attracting foreign direct investment with more than 210 foreign companies located in the City. Founded in the 1790s, today Markham is Canada’s most diverse community and enjoys a rich heritage, outstanding community planning and services, and a vibrant local economy. Markham has received the Excellence Canada Gold Award for Organizational Quality & Healthy Workplace, and multiple heritage and environmental awards.

Stay Connected: Visit our newsroom or search #MarkhamNews and #MarkhamEvents for the latest information on City programs, services and events.


MARKHAM, ON – July 8, 2020 – As Canada’s high-tech capital, the City of Markham is proud to announce that it has added its COVID-19 Virtual Assistant to the Access Markham mobile app. This allows the City to scale up its capacity to provide reliable, consistent and accurate information about the novel coronavirus around the clock – helping the public stay informed, safe and healthy as the City continues to reopen.

The Access Markham mobile app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or by visiting markham.ca/MobileApp.

In addition to life-saving COVID-19 information, the Access Markham mobile app also provides easy access to your recycling and garbage collection schedule with personalized notifications, a What Goes Where tool, Markham Life magazine, interactive maps for walking and cycling and more.

“This further reinforces our commitment to deliver exceptional services to our residents, ensuring you can get quick and accurate information to keep you safe,” says Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti. “As the economy continues to rebound, we need to stay informed on the latest rules, regulations and developments; and the Virtual Assistant is a new and powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19. It is ready to answer all your questions in real time, from any device, as we move together safely toward recovery.”

The City of Markham became the first Canadian municipality to leverage IBM Watson™ Assistant for Citizens to respond to the pandemic when it officially launched the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant on April 29. This virtual assistant combines IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding capabilities with IBM Watson Discovery technology to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19. It also draws information daily from the City of Markham, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ontario Ministry of Health and York Region Public Health websites. The Virtual Assistant is constantly learning and being trained through machine learning to improve answer quality with each user session.

Using this Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, the City is able to adapt its communications to topics people are searching for most and meet the needs of the community.

No smartphone? No problem. In addition to the COVID-19 Virtual Assistant, the City of Markham also offers a COVID-19 Telephone Assistant that can be reached at 1.833.926.0929.

Markham’s Contact Centre continues to respond to inquiries about municipal services and programs at customerservice@markham.ca and 905.477.5530, Monday to Friday between 8 AM and 5 PM.

For more information and updates about COVID-19 and affected City services, visit markham.ca/covid19.

– 30 –

Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti's Office:
Lama Nicolas, Senior Communications Advisor at lnicolas@markham.ca or 416.671.2890.

All other media inquiries / interview requests for the City of Markham:
Jennifer Yap, Coordinator, Communications and Media Relations at jyap@markham.ca or 437.229.2450.

For COVID-19 announcements from the City of Markham:

Visit markham.ca/covid19 or listen to 105.9 The Region – Markham’s information and emergency radio station.

About Markham: Markham, an award-winning municipality with over 355,000 residents and the largest of nine communities in York Region, is home to over 400 corporate head offices and more than 1,500 high tech and life science companies. Markham is a leader in attracting foreign direct investment with more than 210 foreign companies located in the City. Founded in the 1790s, today Markham is Canada’s most diverse community and enjoys a rich heritage, outstanding community planning and services, and a vibrant local economy. Markham has received the Excellence Canada Gold Award for Organizational Quality & Healthy Workplace, and multiple heritage and environmental awards.

Stay Connected: Visit our newsroom or search #MarkhamNews and #MarkhamEvents for the latest information on City programs, services and events.