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Ontario's Digital IDs Are Set To Drop Later This Year & All You'll Need Is Your Phone

The fear of forgetting your ID at home will soon be behind you as the Ontario government has announced that digital identity is set to launch in late 2021.

In a news release issued on September 8, the province revealed the standards and technology that'll form Ontario's "digital identity ecosystem." When fully launched, the digital ID will let people and businesses prove who they are both online and in-person with built-in safety features that'll protect your privacy and personal info.

"It will be a convenient and easy identification solution that is made with the security and encryption necessary for today's highly digitized world, which protects personal data while performing secure transactions and accessing online services," government officials wrote in the release.

What is it? How does it work?

Ontario's digital ID is just an electronic version of your physical government ID, but with better privacy and more security, the government says.

The ID can be stored in a digital wallet app like Apple Pay on your smartphone. It will allow Ontarians to prove who they are both in-person and online.

The news release clarified that Ontarians will have "full and complete control" over what pieces of info they want to share and with whom.

Signing up for an electronic ID will also be totally optional, so you won't have to forgo your current physical cards if you don't want to.

Where will I be able to use it?

While the Ontario government hasn't issued an extensive record of places where you'll be able to use your digital ID, they have listed a few examples of what you can expect once the program rolls out.

Digital ID will be usable for a variety of financial services, from applying for a mortgage to opening up a bank account. You'll be able to use it for individual government services, such as applying for OSAP, replacing your licence plate sticker, or renewing your driver's licence.

The ID will also help smoothen business operations by allowing businesses to verify their customers' identities in case of a lost password, or verify the credentials/history of another business.

Should I be worried about my personal data and privacy?

The Ontario government says your digital ID will only be stored on your mobile device and not on a central database. You'll also have the ability to turn it off remotely if your device is stolen or lost.

It will also not act as a tracker and only be usable with your permission.

If you ever need to prove you're of age to enter a bar or wherever else, the person verifying your age will only see that you're over 18 and not your date of birth or actual age, adding an extra layer of privacy.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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