Canadians need to feel safe and in control when they engage in the digital economy. Core to that safety are privacy, security and choice in how they share personal information online. According to the third annual national survey undertaken by the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC), a staggering 91 per cent of Canadian respondents are calling for control over their personal data collected by provincial and federal governments.
Additionally, 86 per cent of respondents want control over personal data collected by private organisations, and 80 per cent want a secure and unified digital ID ecosystem.
“A trusted pan-Canadian digital identity framework is essential to digital economic prosperity,” said DIACC president Joni Brennan. “While there is some progress on recognising the importance of digital ID, Canada is still at a stage where more work must be done on the policy side to ensure a truly digital economy.”
Unlocking an inclusive digital economy is an opportunity for the government to rebuild much-needed trust among Canadians, enhance privacy, and demonstrate that citizens’ rights are a top priority. According to the Edelman 2021 Canadian Trust Barometer, only 53 per cent of Canadians trust government organisations – a drastic decline of six points since only the previous year.
DIACC’s research reflects this lack of trust. “A trusted digital ID framework needs to be designed with people at the centre. All Canadians need to be able to choose if and how they want to use their digital ID credentials. Digital ID is not intended to replace existing physical ID methods, but as an optional supplemental tool,” Brennan said.
Establishing a trusted digital ID will allow people and organisations the choice to verify themselves online securely, while protecting personal information with no user traceability. It offers a decentralised, privacy-enhancing solution for both the private and public sectors.
The DIACC applauds the federal government for including digital identity as a priority in Treasury Board President Mona Fortier’s mandate letter. The need to invest in digital ID was also referenced twice in the House of Commons Finance Committee’s 2021 pre-budget recommendation as critical to supporting Canada’s Digital Government Strategy in secure service delivery.
“It’s encouraging to see recognition of the critical role that digital identity plays in enabling Canada’s economy; however, we need to see a real commitment to action if we are going to reap the benefits of Digital ID and Digital Trust in meaningful economic growth,” said Dave Nikolejsin, the DIACC’s Board Chair, referring to the DIACC’s Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF).
The PCTF is a publicly available set of tools, shared principles, and guidelines to help organisations operate in a digital ecosystem. It includes processes like Notice and Consent, Authentication, Verification, Privacy, Credentials, and Infrastructures – both technologically and operationally.
Most importantly, the PCTF is citizen-centric. It is designed to keep users safe.
“This is an opportunity for industry and government leaders to come together and build a strong partnership. We have the fundamentals, we have the expertise, and we have the framework. Now, we need mutual investment across sectors to put the PCTF into action,” said Franklin Garrigues, VP External Ecosystems at TD Bank, DIACC Board Vice-Chair.
Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents are calling for governments to collaborate with the private sector to develop a pan-Canadian digital ID. On top of this, three quarters want the government to move quickly.
Privacy. Security. Choice.
DIACC is committed to developing research and tools to enable secure, robust, and scalable Canadian digital identity (digital ID) solutions and services. With digital advancements happening at a surefire rate, DIACC prioritizes privacy, security, and, most importantly, choice of use at the forefront of all digital ID initiatives.
To achieve real growth and sustainability, Canadians need transparency in governance. They need a digital ID they can own and choose to use. A digitally and economically prosperous Canada depends on it.