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Ontario Releases Technology and Standards for Digital Identity

Province welcomes and encourages private-sector market innovation

TORONTO — The Ontario government is publicly launching the technology and standards that will build Ontario’s digital identity ecosystem, which will empower simpler, faster and better access to more convenient and secure online services. As one of the first jurisdictions in North America to publish this information, Ontario continues to demonstrate its commitment to digital and data transparency, and is making progress on becoming a world-leading digital jurisdiction.

When fully launched, Ontario’s Digital ID (identification) will allow people and businesses to prove who they are both online and in person with built-in safety features that protect users’ privacy and personal information. 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.

Over time, Ontario’s Digital ID will open up more opportunities for individuals and businesses across all business sectors. This initiative is yet another way that the government is working with the marketplace to support economic growth, new investments and technological innovation.

Today, Kaleed Rasheed, Associate Minister of Digital Government, shared an update on the government’s plan in a virtual conversation with the Council of Canadian Innovators on Ontario’s digital future.

“Openly sharing our technology approach to digital identity is an essential step in our plan to provide more convenient, private and secure ways to prove who you are,” said Minister Rasheed. “Today’s announcement responds directly to what we continue to hear from sector partners, stakeholders and the public – Ontario’s approach to technology needs to be ambitious, innovative and transparent.”

Ontario’s Digital ID will use emerging technology standards and, wherever possible, publicly available open source solutions. Key principles that will underpin Ontario’s digital identity program include compliance with current industry standards and laws, including Ontario’s Digital Service Standard and Anti-Racism Data Standards.

“Our Ontario Onwards: Action Plan first announced our government’s goal to make Ontario the most advanced digital jurisdiction in the world – all in the service of the people of this province,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “The release of Ontario’s Digital ID later this year will be an exciting step towards transforming and modernizing government services in an increasingly digital world.”

Quick Facts

Ontario will launch a Digital ID for Ontarians later this fall, the first step towards safer, more secure ways to prove who you are online.

When fully mature, the digital ID ecosystem of Ontario is estimated to be worth $20 billion. This estimate is calculated from about 35 value drivers and hundreds of data points from various sources such as DIACC, McKinsey Global Institute and World Economic Forum.

Over the past nine months, the Province consulted with 68 organizations, more than 100 industry experts and held five two-hour roundtable discussions on digital identity.

To develop its digital identity strategy in a way that allows for cross-Canadian standards, Ontario is working collaboratively across the public sector to ensure alignment to standards and interoperability.

Privacy is a core principle of Ontario’s Digital ID and is being considered in all aspects of the program and technology. Ontario’s Information and Privacy Commissioner continues to be engaged to help inform and guide this work.

Ontario to Require Proof of Vaccination in Select Settings

TORONTO — Beginning September 22, 2021, Ontario will require proof of vaccination focused on indoor public settings. All Ontarians who registered their vaccines are encouraged to download their vaccine receipt as proof of their vaccine status until an enhanced vaccine certificate with a QR code is available.

Who is considered fully vaccinated?

People are considered fully vaccinated after receiving the full series of a COVID 19 vaccine or combination of COVID-19 vaccines approved by World Health Organization (e.g., two doses of a two-dose vaccine series, or one dose of a single-dose vaccine series).

Does a previous COVID-19 infection allow you to attend these settings?

No, a previous infection is not a substitute for being fully vaccinated.

How can I get my proof of vaccination?

Currently, vaccine receipts are available in PDF form to be downloaded or printed to your computer, phone or tablet. Ontarians who received their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine out of province should contact their local public health unit to record their information and receive proper documentation. Both proof of identity along with proof of vaccination will be required. Individuals can provide proof of immunization by downloading or printing their vaccine receipt from the provincial booking portal, or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Booking Line at 1-833-943-3900.

How does an individual prove they are fully vaccinated if they are an Indigenous person and haven’t consented to providing their data to COVAX?

In the coming weeks Ontario will support implementation of vaccine certificates for Indigenous communities whether or not they have opted to enter their data into COVax, while maintaining Indigenous data governance, control, access and possession principles.

How does a person correct or change information on their vaccine credential?

Individuals should contact their local public health unit to make any changes to their vaccination record.

What will happen on September 22nd? What will happen on October 22nd?

As of September 22, 2021, Ontarians will need to be fully vaccinated (two doses plus 14 days) and provide their proof of vaccination as well as proof of identity (such a driver’s licence or health card) to access certain public settings and facilities.

An enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

What will the digital vaccine certificate look like?

Ontario will develop and implement an enhanced vaccine certificate with unique QR code and accompanying verification app that will allow users to securely and safely verify their vaccination status when scanned. This could be stored on a mobile device, such as Apple Wallet. The enhanced vaccine certificate, as well as a verification app to allow businesses to read the QR code, will be available beginning October 22.

What if I don’t want to disclose my vaccination status?

It is the discretion of the individual to determine whether they would like to disclose their vaccination status. Should they make the decision not to divulge this information, they will not be permitted to access settings that require proof of vaccination.

In settings where you have to be vaccinated to attend, is recent negative test sufficient to attend if you are unvaccinated?

A negative COVID-19 test or recent COVID-19 infection will not entitle a person to enter these settings, with narrow time-limited exceptions for testing. For the period between September 22 and October 12, 2021, it is intended that people attending wedding or funeral receptions at meeting or event spaces will be able to provide a negative rapid antigen COVID-19 test from no more than 48 hours before the event as an alternative to proof of vaccination. These rapid antigen tests would have to be privately purchased.The only exemptions are for unvaccinated people with medical exemptions and people under 12 years old will also be permitted to enter these settings.

Will people with medical exemptions be allowed to access settings requiring proof of vaccination?

More of this article can be found on the Ontario.ca website under Newsroom.

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