Saskatchewan privacy commissioner calls for optional digital ID

Saskatchewan's Information and Privacy Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski is calling for an optional digital ID in Saskatchewan as more services move online. File / Global News

As more provinces across Canada begin to implement Digital Identification (Digital ID), Saskatchewan Privacy Commissioner Ronald J. Kruzeniski is once again calling for the use of an optional digital ID here.

Kruzeniski released his offices annual report on Tuesday, which outlined their hope for Saskatchewan to implement the digital ID.

“So many of us, so many Saskatchewan citizens have become used to obtaining services online,” said Kruzeniski. “The service providers need to know that when you say who you are, that you are in fact that person.  That’s what’s commonly referred to as a digital ID.”

A digital ID acts like an electronic driver’s license that helps prove your identity online.

Read more: Online shopping sales surge by 99% in Canada amid coronavirus pandemic 

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“Digital ID would be a convenient and easy identification solution that’s made with the security and encryption we need to securely perform transactions and access services online,” Kruzeniski said.

Kruzeniski said the ID could be accessed both as a physical card or an electronic card in your digital wallet.

The ID would be optional, but could be used in several ways:

  • make an age-sensitive purchase (like a lottery ticket)
  • pick up a package at the post office
  • apply for government assistance (such as disability support or EI)
  • start a business
  • apply for a hunting or fishing licence
  • book a site in a provincial park
  • sign up for an account at SaskPower or SaskEnergy
  • obtain services at SaskTel
  • obtain services at municipalities, post-secondary institutions and other agencies
  • apply to open a bank account or apply for a personal loan
  • make an insurance claim
  • renew or replace a driver license
  • sign a digital contract
  • apply for a passport or other federal service

This past March, the Saskatchewan government put plans to develop a digital ID on hold, saying they wanted to wait to see how other programs roll out around the country.

Read more: Ontario digital ID program delayed until 2022

Kruzeniski said with an increase in online health care curing the pandemic, the province needs to implement a digital ID for those seeking one as more services move online.

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“I would hope the government of Saskatchewan continues to consult, educate and explain the benefits of a digital ID for citizens of our province,” he said. “My hope is that Saskatchewan develops a digital ID that meets our province’s needs, maximizes the benefits, and minimizes the risks.”

Currently Alberta and British Columbia both have digital IDs, while Ontario and Quebec are in the process of developing them.

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