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Ontario to roll out a digital identification scheme

Ontario to roll out a digital identification scheme

Canada’s most heavily populated province, Ontario, is set to roll out a digital identification scheme later this year, where users will not have to carry a physical driver’s license or health card.

According to the Government, Ontarians will be able to carry an electronic version of crucial government documents such as driver’s licenses and health cards, affirming that the program is more safe and secure. The Government further noted that the digital ID would offer more privacy to users.

Once launched, the ID will be stored in a digital wallet app for download onto smartphones and other devices like tablets and laptops.

Merits of the digital ID

The digital ID will allow people and businesses to prove their identity both online and in person.

Though the digital ID provides more security, safety and privacy for users, it is not stored in a central database and is only saved on the user’s personal device. The decision not to hold personal information is aimed at alleviating fears that the Government might use the ID to track users where they show the ID.

“Digital ID is a convenient and easy identification solution that’s made with the security and encryption we need to perform transactions and access services online securely,” says the Government on its website.

Where could the digital ID be used?

As an individual, a digital ID can be used to:

  • make an age-sensitive purchase (like a lottery ticket)

  • pick up a package at the post office

  • apply for government assistance (such as disability support) or benefits (such as CERB or EI)

  • access and use vaccination records

  • open a bank account

As a business, a digital ID can be used to:

  • hire new employees

  • prove business identity/credentials or verify those of other businesses

  • open business accounts

  • apply for loans, grants, tax credits

  • verify customers’ identity

It is hoped that the new digital identification program would boost Ontario’s digital profile after the rollout of a vaccine passport. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has recently unveiled new QR codes as proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Doug Ford said the new codes would “make it easier and more secure” for residents to “show their proof of vaccine at local businesses.”

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