Digital identity and digital government services represent part of the future of life in Canada.
Uniting both government identification and online credentials, it will allow Canadians to take full advantage of the 21st century digital economy by using documents such as driver’s licences and passports online and on their mobile devices.
Within a secure, ubiquitous and convenient identification framework, digital IDs have the potential to keep users safe through robust authentication as well as curb fraud and identity theft.
But while digital ID may sound promising in theory, it’s even more appealing in practice. Here are three examples that show how digital ID can make it easier and more intuitive to obtain and use government credentials and services.
Digital identity and driver’s licences
Digital ID would make obtaining a driver’s licence faster and easier. Imagine you’re applying for a licence for the first time. You’d arrive at a government services bureau, do a vision test and have your photograph taken. At this point you would complete the written test on a mobile device. By the time you’re finished, your photo and information would already be integrated into both a paper permit and digital permit card. Upon passing the test, you’d be able to download your licence to a government app and activate it in your digital wallet.
But digital ID won’t just make obtaining a licence more convenient. Before your permit expires, your government app would alert you and provide renewal instructions. By securely authenticating yourself and updating your photo, then paying any associated fees through your mobile wallet, instant licence renewal becomes a real possibility. The same process would apply for changing information such as your address or driver’s licence class, resulting in increased convenience and avoiding the need to wait for a physical ID to be produced and mailed.
How digital identity makes settling in Canada more seamless
Say you’re applying for permanent residency in Canada. With a digital ID framework in place, the process would be more convenient and secure than ever before.
First, you’d visit a photographer who would take your photo, digitally sign and encrypt it, and turn it over to you. Next, you’d submit your completed application and photograph online through the Government of Canada website. After a review and approval process, you’d book an appointment with an immigration officer, and upon successfully completing that interview, your permanent residence card would be available immediately for download.
The immigration officer would issue that digital PR card on the spot. Stored on your mobile device, the card would be accessible to you anytime you need it, removing the delays, inconveniences and potential for fraud associated with physical documentation.
Eventually, if you became a Canadian citizen, you’d be entitled to a digital passport as well. (Read our white paper on digital ID and immigration.)
Digital identity can enhance health care
Digital ID would also make transferring and storing information faster and more intuitive. Take health care, for example. Currently, if you relocate to a new province, you need to visit a new government ministry to present proof of residency and obtain a new health card. Once issued, you would need to contact all of your old health care providers and have them fax, mail or email your files to the new providers, who would have to manually input all of your historical information.
But with a digital ID, each of these steps become easier. You’d be able to verify your place of residence and request a new health card by presenting your digital ID on a government website. Your digital ID would also enable you to access your medical records online, giving you greater control over what information you want to share with your new doctor.
When considered in practical terms, the benefits of digital ID are endless. (Read our white paper about digital ID and health care here.)