Collaboration and Interoperability are Advancing Canadian Digital Identity
June 11, 2020
Canada’s digital ID and authentication ecosystem continues to advance as more companies and organizations realize the importance of quickly and securely verifying identities. Cybersecurity has become an organizational priority to ensure productivity and safe online hygiene remain intact for remote employees.

The pandemic shone a light on the problems of not having a trusted digital identity scheme. Privacy, digital identity and online service delivery have been some of the main considerations while adjusting to a remote workforce, and the resulting benefits of these investments cannot be understated. Canadians needed methods to get back to the same level of trust online that we have with in-person transactions.

Issues associated with digital ID span the globe and impact every organization in a number of sectors. Solving these issues together with a large network allows for collaboration and interoperability. In turn, this fosters an environment where ideas and solutions can be shared and applied to other industries, jurisdictions and organizational needs. Digital identity should be simple, cost effective and private for Canadians that can be used across the country, including in commerce, in government, in healthcare and even the sharing economy.

These principles have been an important part in the creation and growth of SecureKey’s Verified.Me service, a leading identity and authentication provider, since its launch in May 2019. Recognizing that in-person, online and phone transactions to verify digital identities are often full of friction, security gaps and often operate without the need for consumer consent, Verified.Me was developed in cooperation with seven of Canada’s major financial institutions – BMO, CIBC , Desjardins, RBC, TD and Scotiabank – to pave the way for a more secure Canadian identity ecosystem.

Since launching, we have continued reaching out to organizations who would become future partners across many different industries and areas of expertise. Each network participant provides new value-add use cases to the service and, ultimately, benefits more consumers. This also feeds network effects for both Canadians and service providers to rapidly increase the utility for all.

This selection progress comes down to what benefits they would bring to the table with these principles of collaboration and interoperability at the forefront. The first question to consider is whether or not the organization will introduce new or deepen existing network capabilities. Having a diversity of expertise across sectors to share knowledge from either other industries or different areas of focus helps interoperability and a new audience of consumers. Increasing the number of members for the sake of having a larger quantity would not be as effective at improving the quality of the network. Members that are able to share lessons from their experiences with a large number or a specific subset of consumers are valued.

The willingness of organizations to collaborate with the rest of the network is an important part of this. An environment where members come together for the future of Canadian digital identity would not work if there were a lack of cooperation and open communication. Oftentimes, this mirrors their values and company culture. A potential network participant that has demonstrated positive collaboration in the past, especially when it comes to digital identity, authentication and cybersecurity, will be a great fit.

These principles also need to come with an appreciation for privacy protocols and the importance of keeping consumers’ digital IDs safe. It always comes back to ensuring that the network is focused on secure verification processes to benefit Canadians, and members respect this as the main goal of the network. Aligning with the goals of the digital ID and authentication ecosystem is a part of this network fit and advancing Canada on the global digital economy landscape – it is identity for Canadians to get what they want easily without worry of data loss, and certainly not for 3rd party monetization.

As a few examples, Sun Life Financial, as an early adopter, allowed Verified.Me to expand into the insurance, financial services and benefits space to help work together towards solving issues with digital identity and verification in those sectors; Equifax becoming a part of the network allowed us to layer in free credit score solutions for users with a convenient and secure process; and Dynacare made it easier for consumers in the healthcare space to confirm their identity when accessing lab tests and health information. Each new member helped to advance Canada’s digital identity landscape by embracing collaboration and interoperability to help solve issues affecting consumers.

This Verified.Me network is far from the only example of how collaboration and interoperability continues to advance Canadian digital identity. IdentityNORTH embodies these same principles. By bringing Canadian and global leaders together to share and learn about the big ideas and innovations that help accelerate the global digital economy, IdentityNORTH’s keynotes, workshops and networking opportunities help connect key players and drive digital transformation. Identity North is the forum for innovation sharing, collaboration and action to move digital identity forward.

Canada’s premier digital ID and authentication event, IdentityNORTH’s 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Summit, will be taking place on June 17 and 18. Leaders from across the country will present their insights on the future of Canada’s digital ID and authentication, and the opportunity to network and learn from these experts is something that I look forward to every year. There is still time to purchase a ticket. Join the SecureKey team at the Summit where we will be leading two sessions on Day 1 and another on Day 2. See the full agenda for details.