In the absence of a harmonized approach to digital identity, Canadian jurisdictions are pursuing different digital identity solutions at different paces with no cross jurisdictional services to anchor the approach. This may compromise the ease of use for residents across jurisdictions in the future. This work stream identifies the different components of identity management on the national stage and the key decisions needed on each component to advance identity management in Canada.
Digital Identity management is a quickly-evolving field that is of public policy interest because of what a secure digital identity enables. Broadly, secure digital identities can allow Canadians to carry out high-value transactions online, in a more economically efficient and convenient environment. Secure digital identity can reduce identity theft and improve public safety and public confidence by making it more difficult to use identities fraudulently.
With respect to the narrower context of government operations -- secure digital identities can improve access to government services, regardless of a user’s location, that would normally require them to appear in-person.
In order to do this, Canadian jurisdictions and actors in the identity management space need to agree to adopt common standards for how different jurisdictions handle different components of identity management and different levels of confidence in the veracity of that information. Doing so will:
The private sector already leverages technology to allow users to carry out a high volume of low-value, low level of assurance identity transactions. Canadians expect to be able to interact with government services similarly. This work stream will parse out the work and effort needed to enable Canada’s residents to do the same, but for high value services requiring high level of assurance in the identities of the requestors.
Without a harmonized approach, there is a risk that the digital identity vacuum will be filled with disparate approaches to digital identity management. When jurisdictions work at different speeds, it means significantly greater investment may be required to achieve interoperability among jurisdictions in the future. If we can agree to a framework for our approach, we can all work within that framework at our own paces and be responsive to the unique needs of our constituents while ensuring that we are working towards a common vision.
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