ontario digital id

Ontario residents won't get digital ID in 2021 as planned

An Ontario-wide digital ID program, meant to replace physical cards, won't be coming out in 2021 as planned.

In 2020, the province's Future State Modernization Committee announced the plan to create digital driver's licences, health cards and birth certificates.

The digital ID would be stored on a person's smartphone in an effort to "combat identity fraud and protect data" and make it harder, apparently, to get a fake ID.

The digital program would also save time — a small business owner could register for licenses and permits and open accounts online, for instance. A farmer could register a farm vehicle online without needing to spend a day in the car travelling to government offices.

Although the government had planned to start the program in late 2021, Ontario is now saying it won't happen until 2022.

The launch was delayed to focus on the proof-of-vaccination app, Verify Ontario, director of communications for the Associate Ministry of Digital Government Amanda Brodhagen tells blogTO.

"…the priority and resources in the Associate Ministry of Digital Government had to shift to support the Ministry of Health's pandemic response, specifically with the successful release of the Verify Ontario app for businesses which makes it easier to confirm people have been vaccinated while protecting their privacy," Brodhagen says.

She adds that the government wants to get the digital ID "right and ensure that privacy and security continue to be a top priority."

More details on the launch of the ID initiative, including timing and specifics, will be announced in 2022, she says.

The program is part of a sweeping action plan called Ontario Onwards: Ontario's COVID-19 Action Plan for a People-Focused Government.

It is one of more than 30 projects — such as putting government services online, and digitizing the criminal justice system — intended to "reduce red tape" and save people "time and money."

Lead photo by

Karen Longwell

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Ontario residents won't get digital ID in 2021 as planned