Toronto, February 16, 2021 — 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, trusted and privacy-enhancing 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 (DIACC). “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 policymakers consider how best to invest to support Canada’s post-pandemic economic recovery, prioritizing the issuance of trusted digital ID credentials to all Canadians must be a priority,” stated Dave Nikolejsin, the DIACC’s Board Chair.
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 especially 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.
Digital ID critical to privacy in Canada
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.
A digital ID would help to keep Canadians’ data secure and pan-government services easier to access as we move through the pandemic to recovery. This means adopting the Pan-Canadian trust framework.
With new research and compelling data, it’s clear there is no better time for governments to invest in making digital ID a national public policy priority.
DIACC is a growing coalition of public and private sector organizations who are making a significant and sustained effort to ensure Canada’s full, secure, and beneficial participation in the global digital economy. By solving challenges and leveraging opportunities, Canada has the chance to secure at least 3% of unrealized GDP or $100 billion of potential growth by 2030. Seizing this opportunity is a must in a digital society as we work through the COVID pandemic challenges. Learn more about the DIACC mandate.
DIACC was created as a result of the Minister of Finance’s Electronic Payments Task Force that recommended that Canada needs a framework for digital identity and authentication that a self-governing body of experts must create.
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