Monthly Archives: September 2022

Lost and Found: Digital Identity Can Be The Difference Between Life And Death For Refugees

By Michael Cholod, Executive Director at the Peer Social Foundation. Additional contributions made by members of DIACC’s Outreach Expert Committee.

Imagine being lost in the woods or walking down a dusty road with only the clothes on your back. What would you do? Thankfully, most of us have never had to ask this question and we should consider ourselves lucky. Unfortunately, this is the plight facing over 100 million people on Earth right now, including 13 million Ukrainians who have been forced to run for their lives to escape the horrible atrocities of war.

As well, millions have fled their communities to find refuge in more stable parts of their country. These people are called Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs). And of course, millions of others have left their countries entirely and have become Refugees.

Convenience for us, Lifesaving for others

Most Refugees and IDPs did not have the time to properly prepare by gathering all their important documents such as passports, identity cards, driver’s licenses, and land titles or rental agreements. Fleeing your home may save your life, but fleeing without identity documents can lead to a very long wait – sometimes a decade or more – before your life is stable again. Imagine desperately trying to assert your identity to an overwhelmed volunteer who may not speak your language, hoping to convince them you actually exist.Your have lost your idenitty and you have to beg to be found.

Let’s say the conflict is over, you manage to convince an official who you are, and it’s finally time to go home. Upon return, you find that your house or rental flat has been destroyed, or some stranger is living there with a shiny new land title or rental agreement proclaiming they are the rightful owner.

It has taken ten years to re-establish your identity only to come home and find yourself homeless once again. The futility of living without an identity or without evidence of ownership or occupancy of your home, land, or property (HLP), has become a serious, global problem. UNHCR, IOM, NGOs like the Norwegian Refugee Council and western donor agencies like the World Bank and New America exist to help people in such need.Groups like the Global Protection Cluster have formed special entities to study the HLP problem. It turns out that Digital Identity is fundamental to the solution.

Digital Identity is essential

In Ukraine for example, there are 10 million citizens registered with the national digital identity program Diia. Diia, which translates to ‘Action’ in English, is a mobile application that allows any Ukrainian citizen with a bank account to create, store, and register their identity and property ownership documents with the government. Since the Russian invasion of February 24, 2022, Diia even allows people to report war crimes and the movement of Russian troops from their mobile phone or computer.

Creating a digital record of your identity and property ownership or occupancy (HLP) makes you easier to find if you become undocumented since a digital copy of your life is safe with the government. Even if you must flee with only your smartphone or a set of credentials you’ve memorized, you can reclaim your identity and quickly file for compensation for damaged or destroyed HLP, and return home far sooner than those without digital credentials.

Don’t get me wrong, digital identity platforms like Diia are not a panacea. Not everyone is registered for Diia. Not everyone has a bank account, a computer, a smartphone, or Internet access, nor the skills to use them. Russia is occupying not just physical territory in Ukraine, they are also occupying Ukrainian cyberspace so it is important that digital identity solutions like Diia are secured against malicious actors bent on stealing people’s identity.

For most people, embracing digital identity might be the difference between being lost and found. That is reason enough for everyone to embrace digital identity as soon as possible.You never know when an explosion, hurricane, forest fire or rising water might wash you and all your possessions away leaving your family homeless. A digital lifeline can be far more than just convenient.

Request for Comment and IPR Review: PCTF Infrastructure (Technology & Operations) Final Recommendation V1.1

This review period is now closed.

Notice of Intent: DIACC is collaborating to develop and publish the Infrastructure (Technology & Operations) component of the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF) to set a baseline of public and private sector interoperability of identity services and solutions. During this public review period, DIACC is looking for community feedback to ensure that the conformance criteria is clear and auditable.

Document Status: These review documents have been developed by members of the DIACC’s Trust Framework Expert Committee (TFEC) who operate under the DIACC controlling policies and consist of representatives from both the private and public sectors. These documents have been approved by the TFEC as Final Recommendations V1.1.


The intent of the Infrastructure (Technology & Operations) component is to identify the operational policies, plans, technology and technology operations requirements to support implementation of the principles of the PCTF Profiles in the context of a Digital Identity Ecosystem.

To learn more about the Pan-Canadian vision and benefits-for-all value proposition please review the Pan-Canadian Trust Framework Overview.


  • All interested parties are invited to comment.


  • Opens: September 26, 2022 at 23:59 PT | Closes: October 27, 2022 at 23:59 PT

When reviewing the components Conformance Criteria, please consider the following and note that responses to this question are non-binding and serve to improve the PCTF.

  1. Would you consider the Conformance Criteria as auditable or not? That is, could you objectively evaluate if an organization was compliant with that criteria and what evidence would be used to justify that?

Review Documents: Infrastructure (Technology & Operations)

Intellectual Property Rights:

Comments must be received within the 30-day comment period noted above. All comments are subject to the DIACC contributor agreement; by submitting a comment you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions therein. DIACC Members are also subject to the Intellectual Property Rights Policy. Any notice of an intent not to license under either the Contributor Agreement and/or the Intellectual Property Rights Policy with respect to the review documents or any comments must be made at the Contributor’s and/or Member’s earliest opportunity, and in any event, within the 30-day comment period. IPR claims may be sent to Please include “IPR Claim” as the subject.


  • All comments are subject to the DIACC contributor agreement.
  • Submit comments using the provided DIACC Comment Submission Spreadsheet.
  • Reference the draft and corresponding line number for each comment submitted.
  • Email completed DIACC Comment Submission Spreadsheet to
  • Questions may be sent to

Value to Canadians:

The PCTF Infrastructure (Technology & Operations) will provide value to all Canadians, businesses, and governments by setting a baseline of business, legal, and technical interoperability. The DIACC’s mandate is to collaboratively develop and deliver resources to help Canadian’s to digitally transact with security, privacy, and convenience. The PCTF is one such resource and guides digital identity ecosystem interoperability by putting policy, standards, and technology into practice aligning with defined levels of assurance. The DIACC is a not-for-profit coalition of members from the public and private sector who are making a significant and sustained investment in accelerating Canada’s Identity Ecosystem.


The purpose of this review is to ensure transparency in the development and diversity of a truly Pan-Canadian, and international, input. In alignment with our Principles for an Identity Ecosystem, processes to respect and enhance privacy are being prioritized through every step of the PCTF development process.

DIACC expects to modify and improve these Final Recommendations based upon public comments. Comments made during the review will be considered for incorporation into the next iteration and DIACC will prepare a Disposition of Comments to provide transparency with regard to how each comment was handled.