Ontario prepares to launch digital ID program and here's how it works

Ontario is preparing to launch a digital identification program in the coming months, meaning people will no longer need to carry a physical driver’s licence or health card.

According to the government, Ontario's digital identification program is scheduled to launch in late 2021.

On Wednesday, the province unveiled more information about the program, saying it will be a "convenient and easy identification solution" for Ontarians.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Ontarians will be able to have an electronic version of their trusted government ID – like driver's licences and health cards – which the government says is more safe and secure.

Your ID will be stored in a digital wallet app, which will be available for download onto smartphones and other devices like tablets and laptops.

The digital ID will allow people and businesses to prove who they are both online and in person.

According to the government, the digital ID will offer more privacy to users.

"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," the government says.

The digital ID is not stored in a central database and is only saved on your own personal mobile device, which can be turned off remotely if stolen.

The government says digital ID is not a tracking device and it will not keep track of where you've used your ID.

WHERE CAN YOU USE IT?

Ontarians will be able to use their digital ID in a wide range of locations.

The government says "it will take years to unlock the full potential of digital ID" but has provided a list of where people can use it when the program launches.

Some of the settings include:

  • Making an age-sensitive purchase (like a lottery ticket)
  • Picking 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
  • Make a medical appointment
  • Visit a doctor
  • Access medical records online
  • Get, renew or replace a driver’s licence
  • Apply for, renew or replace a health card
  • Renew or replace a licence plate sticker

As a business, the digital ID can be used for:

  • Hiring new employees
  • Proving business identity or verify those of other businesses
  • Open business accounts
  • Apply for loans, grants, tax credits
  • Verify customers' identity

Click here for a more extensive list of where a digital ID can be used. 

HOW DO YOU GET A DIGITAL ID?

The government has not yet launched the digital ID program.

When it does become available, people will download the Ontario digital wallet app to their mobile device or computer. 

They will then sign up for the program and verify their ID either online or in person. 

Users will then be able to add ID cards to their digital wallet and it will be ready for use.