We recently attended IdentityNORTH in Toronto and as usual it was a great event to connect with colleagues and hear about what’s going in with digital identity initiatives in Canada. Aran, Krista and the entire IdentityNORTH team always put on an organized, well-run event with lots of great speakers and interesting sessions.

The spirit of collaboration around digital identity in Canada is one of the strongest we’ve seen, especially in North America. Both the public and private sectors have a genuine interest in working together, and this is seen primarily through the great work being done at the Digital ID and Authentication Council of Canada (DIACC) to bring together a wide variety of stakeholders, industries and even different levels of government (e.g. federal, provincial, municipal) to work together towards a common goal. Work has been ongoing for a few years now to build a Pan-Canadian Trust Framework (PCTF) that will enable businesses, citizens and governments alike to have a common understanding of what it means to be part of a digital identity ecosystem and what is considered the standard in Canada of a well-designed, secure and privacy-respecting identity system. DIACC has released an initial version of the PCTF and is soliciting public feedback. They also announced a timeline for ongoing public releases of more detailed components of the framework taking place throughout the rest of 2019 and into next year. We are encouraged to see this progress and look forward to seeing this framework evolve over the coming year.

The other major highlight from the event was to see a variety of live demos and nearly market ready solutions from various organizations. In past events, we’ve seen a lot “coming soon” presentations, wireframes or mockups. But this year, there was a decidedly heavier live demo presence and quite a few solutions that have either launched or are launching soon. Some of the solutions presented included:

  • Verified.Me by SecureKey, a mobile identity service used to verify and share personal information online, in person and on the phone. It was developed in cooperation with major Canadian financial institutions who act as “Service Hosts” to verify and authenticate End Users. End Users can also connect with other identity and data providers who generate or hold information about them (e.g. MNOs and credit bureaus), and safely and securely share certain information with service providers and relying parties (e.g. online merchants, insurance brokers, or other providers conducting account opening or confirming service eligibility).
  • 2Keys and Interac presented a live demo of a digital wallet proof of concept sponsored by the Ontario Centres Of Excellence which demonstrated age verification for buying cannabis or liquor online.
  • Niagara Health Navigator by Identos for the Niagara Health regional authority, a digital health ecosystem designed to protect patient privacy and security while connecting patients to their health data, care providers and innovators.
  • eID-Me by Bluink, a mobile identity verification and digital identity wallet with demonstrated use cases in healthcare (fast check-in and electronic medical record integration) and car sharing (owner registration and vehicle unlocking).
  • BC Government demonstrated enabling a Mobile BC Services Card via remote video chat, through a mobile app. The app allows a citizen to identify themselves over video and means they don’t need to visit a location in person to apply for services. An initial trial was launched last year to make it easier for students to apply for aid with the mobile BC Services Card.

With all these new solutions and service offerings, interoperability seems to be one of the new buzz words. As more products are introduced to the market, there will be a need for broader industry cooperation across sectors, and likely across international borders. As mentioned in our previous post on digital identity technical and assurance standards, it will be important to watch these developments as they continue to evolve.

Lastly, it wasn’t all work with no fun as we even got in a visit to Jurassic Park, the Toronto Raptors fan zone during the NBA Finals. It was a bit wet and rainy but that didn’t stop the crowd from being quite enthusiastic!

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