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How do I verify identity using the government-issued photo ID method?

A valid, authentic and current (not expired) government-issued identification document containing the individual’s name and photograph (e.g. driver’s licence, passport, Secure Certificate of Indian Status, Permanent Resident Card, or certain provincial or territorial health insurance cards) may be used to verify identity. You may rely on an identification document issued by a foreign government if it is equivalent to a Canadian-issued identification document. Documents issued by municipal governments are not acceptable.

A document is authentic if it is genuine and has the character of an original, credible and reliable document. For example, an original physical government-issued photo identification document is authentic.

When the individual is physically present: You or your agent must view the original physical document in the presence of the individual to ensure that it is issued by a competent authority, that it is valid and current and that the individual’s name and photograph match.

When the individual is not physically present: You or your agent may use the government-issued photo identification method if you have a process in place to authenticate the government-issued photo identification document and to determine that it is valid and current.

To authenticate the document, you could use a technology capable of determining the document’s authenticity. For example, you could:

  • ask the individual to scan their government-issued photo identification document using the camera on their mobile phone or electronic device; and
  • use a technology to compare the features of the scanned document against known characteristics (for example, size, texture, character spacing, raised lettering, format/design), security features (for example, holograms, barcodes, magnetic strips, watermarks, embedded electronic chips) or markers (for example, logos or symbols) to be satisfied that it is an authentic document as issued by the competent authority.

To determine that the authenticated document is valid and current, and that the name and photo are those of the individual providing the document, you could:

  • participate in a live video call with the individual and compare the name and the features of the live video image to the name and photo on the authenticated document; or
  • ask the individual to take a “selfie” using the camera on their mobile phone or electronic device and use an application to apply facial recognition technology to compare the features of that “selfie” to the photo on the authenticated document. You would also need a process to compare the name on the document with the name provided by the individual.