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From LinkedIn to government services, digital identity use set for expansion in Canada

From LinkedIn to government services, digital identity use set for expansion in Canada

Digital identity is set to take on greater prominence in Canada, with a rollout on LinkedIn and a plan to bring numerous government services online for easier access.

Clear has been providing free biometric identity verification for LinkedIn users in the U.S. since earlier this year. Now, Canada has been chosen as the first country outside of America for the service to expand to. There are 22 million LinkedIn users in Canada, according to the announcement.

“When you verify your identity with Clear on LinkedIn, you’re more likely to be considered for a job, have your in-mail opened, and build connections — it’s that simple,” says Clear CEO Caryn Seidman Becker.

There are 700 million LinkedIn users outside of North America in around 200 countries, by LinkedIn’s own count.

The expansion also fits with Clear’s plans to further diversify applications of its service beyond the travel space.

Canada’s government also recently created a new cabinet position for minister of government services, and Tery Beech, first to hold the new role, says it will involve moving federal services from passports to payments online, reports the CBC.

Beech tells the CBC that the position was created to make government services “digital first,” though details are scant pending the issuance of a mandate letter.

The move was prompted in part by delays in passport issuance and renewals, which peaked with a backlog of 316,000 applications in 2022.

Economic efficiency is also a likely motivation. A white paper published earlier this year by ATB Ventures declared the time ripe for the adoption of digital ID in both the public and private sectors, and cited DIACC’s estimate of a potential $15 billion Canadian (US$11.3 billion) annual gain in GDP.

The Department of Employment and Social Development (ESDC) will support Beech’s efforts, with Service Canada reporting to the new minister. The Canada Digital Service, which is responsible for developing government digital resources like apps, has been transferred from the Treasury Department to the ESDC.

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