Initiative will offer more convenient access to government and private sector services
TORONTO — The Ontario government is launching an online consultation to seek input on the province’s plan to introduce a digital ID by the end of 2021. Through the Digital ID program, people and businesses in Ontario will be able to securely and conveniently prove their identity online. This will save people time and money and offer more convenient access to government and private sector services.
“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.”
Launching today, the consultation will be open from February 2 to February 26, 2021 via online surveys for the public and small-to-medium-size enterprises (SMEs) as well as virtual focus groups for SMEs. Participants will have the opportunity to help shape the government’s approach to introducing a digital ID while voicing their top priorities and concerns.
Strong encryption and privacy protecting technology will be at the core of a digital ID to ensure personal information such as name, birthdate or address remains secure. This initiative will make Ontario one of the leading digital jurisdictions in the world.
Potential uses of a digital ID include:
- A parent could more easily access their children’s immunization records and share them online with their school.
- A small business owner could reduce red tape by registering for licences and permits or opening new accounts online.
- A farmer could register a farm vehicle online without travelling to government offices to prove their personal identity.
- A senior could check in to a doctor’s appointment online and securely share health information with caregivers and health care providers.
A digital ID would also support COVID-19 safety protocols by limiting unnecessary in-person contact to help stop the spread of the virus.
Ontarians will be able to combat ID fraud and protect their data more effectively with a digital ID. By using this innovative technology, users will be in full control of what identity information is shared and with whom. For those persons who choose not to have a digital ID, they will still be able to prove their identity and access services with their physical documents.
Digital ID, a signature project of Ontario Onwards: Ontario’s COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government, is one of more than 30 projects that will improve the way people and businesses interact with government by offering access to more services online.
A recent study estimated the use of Digital Identity could increase efficiency and result in a potential $4.5 billion of added value to the small-and-medium-size enterprises sector nationally.
Based on estimates of the impact of Digital Identity on GDP in mature economies by McKinsey Global Institute, Ontario stands to gain $8 – $25 billion in economic value alone.
A recent analysis of 335 government services found that approximately 70% of government services required some level of identity verification, and most of the physical cards and documents used today to prove identity (e.g., driver’s licences or photo health cards) were not designed for online use, leading to the risk of identity fraud.