May 19, 2024

The Queens County Citizen

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Eric Kier presented his important mobile application project for his digital identity

Eric Kier presented his important mobile application project for his digital identity

Minister Eric Keir's digital identity project is in trouble. He promised a mobile application that would give Quebecers access to all government services on their phone by 2025, but the project has been put on ice.

It's not tomorrow that you'll find your driver's license and your health insurance card in the Quebec government's mobile application.

According to a brief from the Quebec Digital Identity Service, the “Quebec Portfolio” project is projected for 2025 at an estimated $105 million, including operating and promotional costs.

Staffing shortages are jeopardizing its full deployment, Cybersecurity and Digital Affairs Minister Eric Kair admitted during his budget allocations study last April.

“I won't hide it from you,” he announced, “there are projects we're currently putting on hold.”

“The Carrefour project, a digital application of government digital services, we do [le] Pause,” he said.

However, already in 2022, Quebec admits it lacks the in-house expertise to build this IT infrastructure. Mr. Cair plans to spend more than $20 million on subcontractors to build it.

Still in 2022, our parliamentary office reported that a lack of transparency from Eric Keir's ministry was holding back the project. He could not assure the Commission for Access to Information that he would respect personal data protection.

Late…

However, Mr. CARE is committed to providing digital identity to citizens from 2019, heralding its upcoming use on our mobile phones and access to secure services at their fingertips like your banking transactions.

He initially told Radio-Canada that the application would be operational in 2021.

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“I hope that in a year we will have an interview in the doctor's office with your phone in your hands to show the application!”, he said.

In an interview with our Parliamentary Office in June 2020, Minister Kair promised to fully implement this digital wallet by 2025.

Every citizen has a digital key that gives them access to all government services and even private services like banks.

However, it is not possible to get Government Authentication Service (SAG) in this wallet mobile application in the medium term.

“I say “not immediately” because mobile services must be available on mobile phones. We have a plan to go in that direction, but we will put it on hold for now,” he explained.

Biometrics

Biometrics (facial recognition or fingerprints), will also be included in this application for accessing secure services, however will be developed.

“I will not hide from you that we are setting up the infrastructure that will allow identification through biometrics, because that will bring us to a higher level of security,” he clarified, before going ahead, assuring that the CAQ government would take action. Ensure social acceptance of such a project. “But technology, if Quebecers are in favor of it, will allow it,” he noted.



Archive photo, QMI Agency

Authentication: No full service before 2028

The deployment of the digital identity service tested at the launch of SAAQclic will take longer than expected: all institutions and ministries will have to wait until 2028 before being connected to it.

The failure of the launch of the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec's new IT platform appears to have slowed down the government's efforts for the full deployment of the Government Authentication Service (SAG).

“When will delivery of all electronic government services through SAG be available? It's 2028,” Eric Kair said during his study of budget allocations. The project was previously supposed to be fully delivered by June 2022.

Health Notebook

For more than a year, Minister Eric Kair has refused interviews with our parliamentary office, citing insufficient positive media coverage.

It is very difficult to get the facts straight about the IT projects undertaken by his ministry and the expansion of SAG.

During his appropriations study, Minister Eric Kair announced that Health Record would be the next government site to use SAG. “This is the first electronic delivery of services from the Ministry of Health that we are discussing,” he reported without giving further details.

Further, the Minister of Cyber ​​Security and Digital Affairs could not estimate the total costs of his digital identity project. The project, which was supposed to have three blocks, now has seven blocks with no official timeline.

In the 2023-2024 fiscal year, Quebec spent $27.9 million on the Digital Identity Service program.

Companies are excluded

Then, without fanfare, business services were also excluded from the project. Initially, SAG should be implemented for businesses as well, along with better access to online services for citizens.

It is for this reason that the next entity connected to SAG is ultimately not Revenu Québec, as we have learned.

At the moment, it is difficult to distinguish the current use of clicSÉQUR for citizens and businesses.

“They already use clickSÉQUR. It has two features. “There's a clicSÉQUR for citizens and a clicSÉQUR for businesses too, obviously.”

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“At the moment, with two blocks in the current SAG, we can replace the clicSÉQUR of the citizen part, but not the business part,” he tried to explain.



Quebec

Illustration Adobe Stock

Digital identity of citizens

– Budget: $105 million over eight years, including maintenance and promotion costs

– Service provision supported by a mobile application (Carrefour) and includes a digital wallet for proof of authentication (driving license, health insurance card, etc.).

– Protected by biometrics such as facial recognition

– Delivery is planned for 2025, but the creation of the mobile application is suspended

(Source: Report from the Quebec Digital Identity Service and Credit Study)

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