The Government of Ontario is looking to implement a new digital identity system, and is asking the public to weigh in before it does so. Ontario residents have until February 26 to fill in an online survey to share their thoughts about the proposed scheme.
According to the Ontario Government, the digital identity program would give residents of the Canadian province a safe and secure way to prove their identity online, which would in turn make it easier for people to gain access to various online services. For example, the system would negate the need to visit a physical government office, and allow people to apply for business licenses, check personal records, and perform other activities from the comfort of their homes. However, participation would be voluntary, so residents who prefer an in-person experience would still be able to go to the office and present paper documents to a provincial employee.
The Government is hoping to launch the new program before the end of 2021. It argues that a modern digital identity system would help reduce the threat of identity fraud, and generate $4.5 billion in value for small and medium-sized enterprises across the country.
Reducing the number of in-person appointments would also help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The government indicated that citizens would have full control of their personal information, and would be able to choose when and what they share.
“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 Digital and Data Transformation Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy. “As we develop this initiative, we want to hear directly from the people to ensure their priorities are reflected in this innovative, digital approach.”
The Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade previously provided Ottawa’s Bluink with $1.2 million in funding to help the company develop its eID-Me digital identity app. eID launched in Ontario in March of 2020, and has since expanded to offer service to residents of Quebec and British Columbia. It’s unclear if the Ontario Government plans to integrate Bluink’s platform into its own digital identity system.
Source: Global News
February 9, 2021 – by Eric Weiss