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Covid has accelerated Canadians’ demand for digital ID

Research finds that three-quarters of Canadians feel it’s important to have a secure digital ID to make transactions online


February 17, 2021
By SP&T Staff

As more Canadians and businesses are moving online throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, three-quarters of the population feels it’s important to have a secure digital ID to safely and securely make transactions online.

“From receiving emergency pandemic benefits to ensuring health records are correct and helping children and youth with online education, there are many ways in which a secure digital ID is essential to the functioning of daily life during a pandemic,” said Joni Brennan, president of the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada, in a prepared statement. “The pandemic has put a spotlight on the need for governments to move with urgency to invest in the digital infrastructure needed to ensure that Canadians receive the services they need and that Canadian businesses can participate fully and securely in the global digital economy.”

The majority of Canadians believe it is important for federal and provincial governments to move quickly on enabling digital ID in a safe and secure manner, according to the survey. It also shows that collaboration between governments and the private sector continues to be considered the best approach to create a pan-Canadian digital ID framework.

As the federal government focuses on post-pandemic recovery, investing in digital ID makes economic sense, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. For SMEs, the impact of digital identity could be used to improve processes that are difficult today. This is true in situations where businesses need to provide proof of identity to another business. Considering SMEs account for approximately 30 per cent of Canada’s overall GDP ($450 billion), if we assume that the average SME could be just one per cent more efficient with access to trusted digital identity, this results in a potential $4.5 billion of added value to SMEs and reinvestments in the Canadian economy.

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Survey respondents identified security, efficiency and privacy as the top three benefits of digital ID. Further, an overwhelming number of Canadians are looking for solutions that address both the public and private sectors.

“As Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne ushers through Bill C-11, the Digital Charter Implementation Act, to introduce private sector protections for consumer data, it’s imperative that public sector data also be considered in the legislation,” said Brennan.


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