(Gatineau) The Digital Identity Laboratory of Canada (IDLab) has shifted its efforts to better serve the digital credentials community and the adoption of digital credential technologies by Canadians.
IDLab is now focusing on delivering public benefit and creating impact by facilitating co-created projects, upskilling and reskilling the workforce, and delivering testing and assessments.
“With this shift, we’re aiming to address complex challenges and opportunities related to digital credentials, in a public manner, so that the whole community benefits,” said Patrick Cormier, Acting-President and Co-Founder.
Founded in 2020, IDLab was created based on signals from select provinces that they were moving ahead with digital identity and credential programs.
“There was a stated need from the provinces to be able to test digital credential solutions in a public sandbox environment,” noted Mr. Cormier. “We established IDLab and built up our assets accordingly,” continued Mr. Cormier, “but COVID happened and everything changed.”
As the world reeled from the effects of COVID, IDLab had to evolve and adapt. “We experimented with a few different models these past few years,” said Mr. Cormier, “but our vision has always remained clear, the purpose of IDLab was (and remains to be) to advance safe, seamless and secure digital credentials.”
After the economy started to re-open, market signals indicated there could be a new role for IDLab to play, that leaned into their strengths of facilitation, collaboration and delivering public benefit. Based on these signals IDLab started down its journey to what the staff affectionately call “IDLab 2.0”.
“I can’t quite remember how we came up with that name,” continued Mr. Cormier. “It must have come up early in our meetings and it just stuck.”
The first market gap IDLab identified was around the lack of demonstrated use-cases for digital credential technologies. To solve this, IDLab will facilitate co-created projects that are proposed by stakeholders in the community to demonstrate, as Mr. Cormier put it, “where the rubber meets in the road with these technologies.”
“Most people hear ‘digital identity’ and immediately think of driver’s licenses or passports, but in reality the application of these technologies is much more vast,” explained Mr. Cormier.
“These technologies can be used from anything to help get shipments across the border, to tracking greenhouse gas emissions. They can be used to fight fraud, stop houses from being sold out from under people, help vulnerable populations get better access to services, and protect our children from malicious content on the internet.”
IDLab will start by opening several windows where anyone can propose or submit a project as long as it aligns to IDLab criteria. The first window opens this fall.
The second market gap that IDLab seeks to address is the significant skills shortage in the industry, which continues to hamper the development and adoption of these technologies. To address this, IDLab will offer programs to help build capacity in the technology workforce, including training, courses and guidance.
“These technologies are very novel, and organizations are struggling with where to start or how to get their people up to speed in the digital credential space. Our aim is to ensure Canadian organizations and governments have the right skills in place to deploy and adopt these technologies,” stated Mr. Cormier.
The third pillar of the revamped IDLab will rest much closer with its roots as it continues to offer a neutral assessment and testing program. Interoperability is currently the main hurdle, as independent solutions must work effectively together for the technologies to operate as a whole. IDLab’s testing and assessment program also covers things like user experience testing, privacy impact assessments, accessibility, and technical conformance.
“Many of us forget the struggles the banking industry went through when moving to bank cards and online banking,” continued Mr. Cormier. “For these technologies to work, we must not only ensure that Canadian solutions work together, but that they can function globally, and testing is a big part of ensuring that.”
Moving the physical credentials that we use everyday to the digital space is still a very new concept. IDLab’s new focus aims to aid understanding and adoption as the technology becomes more commonplace.
“At IDLab, we think it is possible to implement these technologies in a safe and privacy-enhancing manner. In short, make the world actually safer for all of us than it is right now,” concluded Mr. Comier.
“We will do this by promoting a better understanding of safe and seamless digital credentials and identity, by helping the Canadian workforce to develop its skills and knowledge, by ensuring both the private and public sectors are aware of best practices and trends when issuing digital credentials and identities, by providing an objective and neutral testing laboratory to ensure it all works together and, finally, by acting as a resource center for organizations that wish to verify digital credentials and identity.”
For a detailed list of IDLabs programs, visit the Programs section of our website.
IDLab brings people, organizations and governments together to tackle the big issues involved in the creation of safe, seamless and secure digital credentials for the benefit of all Canadians.
Our unbiased team of specialists tests and experiments with governance and technology models designed to leverage digital credentials in Canadians’ day-to-day lives. Our work supports efforts to ensure various solutions work across the country and internationally.
Through our capacity-building and assessment activities, we help public and private sector organizations to advance their digital identity and credential goals.
We believe the best solutions will require a collaborative approach with multiple participants across the economy and we’re committed to facilitating just that.
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Vice président, Partenariats stratégiques
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships
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