Related information on digital ID


What digital ID is and is not

Digital ID (identification) is an electronic version of trusted government ID that provides better safety, more security and stronger privacy than physical ID cards or documents.

It can be securely stored in a digital wallet app for smartphones and other digital devices (like tablets or computers) and will let people and businesses prove who they are both online and in person.

Digital ID is the foundation that will enable easier access to online services and make Ontario one of the world’s most digitally advanced jurisdictions, with a value for Ontarians, businesses and the government that is estimated at $20  billion footnote 1 .

Digital ID is:

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convenient – it lives on your mobile device and is always ready to use whenever you need it

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secure – your data is protected using strong encryption and, unlike your physical wallet, your digital ID can easily be turned off if your phone is lost or stolen

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privacy-preserving – for example, if you need to show you are age of majority, the verifier will only know you are over 18, not your date of birth or actual age

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verifiable – just like a driver’s licence, a digital ID is certified government proof that you are who you say you are

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in your control – you have full and complete control over what bits of your information you want to share and with whom you want to share it – no one can access your data without your agreement

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voluntary – signing up for digital ID will be optional – you can still use physical ID whenever you want

Digital ID is:

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not stored in a central database – your digital ID is stored only on your personal mobile device (for example, your phone or tablet) or computer and can be turned off remotely if your device or computer is lost or stolen

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not a tracking device – the government will not know where you have been or where you used your digital ID

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not usable without your permission – you must always consent (agree) before sharing any information

Why now?

We need better privacy and security

Physical forms of identification and credentials were not designed for the safety and security needs of the digital world. Current solutions, like scanning your driver’s licence and sending it by email are inconvenient and insecure.

Digital ID is a convenient and easy identification solution that’s made with the security and encryption we need to securely perform transactions and access services online.

We value online and contactless transactions

covid 19 has made it clear that online transactions can be convenient and user-friendly. Ontario’s Digital ID will mean more businesses that require customer identification will be able to move their services online.

The pandemic has also taught us that contactless in-person service options (such as tap-to-pay instead of entering a PIN on a terminal) can help keep us safe. Ontario’s Digital ID will let you prove who you are in person without exchanging any physical documents.

Where you could use digital ID

We will be introducing Ontario’s Digital ID in late 2021. To help you understand where it could work, here are some examples of future digital ID uses.

As an individual, you could use digital ID to prove your identity when you:

  • 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, you could use digital ID when you:

  • 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

Read a list of more ways digital ID could possibly be used.

How digital ID works

We will be sharing how Ontario’s Digital ID will work in the coming months, but here is a simplified version of the typical process.

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Image of mobile phone with a digital wallet download.

Download

the Ontario digital wallet app and install it on your mobile device or computer

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Illustration of a person showing their ID card at a kiosk.

Sign up

and verify your digital ID online or in person

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Illustration of a ID card inserting into a digital wallet.

Add your ID card

and credentials to the digital wallet

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Illustration of a digital ID card in a digital wallet on a mobile phone.

Use your digital ID

to easily prove your credentials and access online and in-person services

Image
Image of mobile phone with a digital wallet download.

Download

the Ontario digital wallet app and install it on your mobile device or computer

Image
Illustration of a person showing their ID card at a kiosk.

Sign up

and verify your digital ID online or in person

Image
Illustration of a ID card inserting into a digital wallet.

Add your ID card

and credentials to the digital wallet

Image
Illustration of a digital ID card in a digital wallet on a mobile phone.

Use your digital ID

to easily prove your credentials and access online and in-person services

Learn about the technology and standards we are starting with for Ontario’s Digital ID.

Ontario’s plan

In late 2021 we will begin introducing digital ID to Ontarians. We will be starting small, but digital ID will open up enormous opportunities for Ontario’s people and businesses.

Here’s a timeline of what we’ve done so far:

September 8, 2021

We published the set of technical tools we are starting with to build Ontario’s Digital ID.

 
August 23 – September 23, 2021

We held an online consultation on the policy framework for Ontario’s Digital Identity Program.

 
July 2021

We held feedback sessions with members of the public to learn their interpretation of a digital ID, its benefits and how they would get one on their mobile phone.

 
July 2021

We began presenting our technology roadmap to key private-sector partners for their questions and input.

 
June 23, 2021

Patients at Niagara Health were among the first in the province who can access their diagnostic records such as an x-ray, CT scan, MRI or ultrasound through a patient digital identity service.

 
April 30, 2021

We introduced our first Digital and Data Strategy, Building a Digital Ontario.

 
March 30, 2021

Four Ontario hospitals introduced the Ontario trusted account, a service that allows patients to prove their identity online.

 
November 2020-December 2020

We held roundtable consultations with large market participants to understand their perspectives on technology, the role of government and standards for a digital ID ecosystem.​

 
October 19, 2020
 

Footnotes

  • footnote[1] Back to paragraph This is a rough-order-of-magnitude estimate calculated from about 35 value drivers and hundreds of data points from various sources, including DIACC (Digital ID & Authentication Council of Canada), McKinsey Global Institute and World Economic Forum.
Updated: October 01, 2021
Published: September 07, 2021