Ontario wants to be a digital ID hotspot
Provincial push could set the stage for large authentication program
29 March, 2021
category: Digital ID, Government
Look to Ontario, Canada as one of the next spots for digital ID innovation and deployment. The government of Canada’s most populous province envisions a digital ID program that, in the administration’s words, enables people and businesses in Ontario to be able to securely and conveniently prove their identity online, saving people time and money and offering more convenient access to government and private sector services.
To that end, Ontario ran a public input program on the digital ID proposal early this year.
“We want to assure people that a digital ID will not only offer simpler and easier access to services, but it will be safe and secure, encrypted and harnessing the latest technology to protect your information and credentials,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, President of the Treasury Board, Minister of Finance and Minister Responsible for Digital and Data Transformation. “As we develop this initiative, we want to hear directly from the people to ensure their priorities are reflected in this innovative, digital approach. No one has a monopoly on good ideas, and we are prepared to listen.”
Government officials made sure to emphasize, while promoting the digital ID push, the need for strong encryption and privacy protecting technology. Ontario also set for itself a significant digital ID goal. “This initiative will make Ontario one of the leading digital jurisdictions in the world,” the provincial government said in a statement.
Ontario digital ID use cases
It also outlined various digital ID use cases. They include easier parental access to immunization records; less red tape for businesses applying for licenses and permits; registration of farm vehicles without the need to travel to government offices; online check-ins for doctor appointments, along with more efficient sharing of health data; and the support of COVID-19 protocols.
Ontario offered few details about the digital ID project and costs, but the government said a robust digital ID program would bring specific benefits.
For instance, they cite that the use of digital ID could result in a potential $4.5 billion of added value to the small-and-medium-size enterprises sector nationally. As well, a recent analysis of 335 government services found that approximately 70% of those services required some level of identity verification, and most of the physical cards and documents used today to prove identity were not designed for online use, leading to the risk of identity fraud.