The federal government has committed Canada to participate in the World Economic Forum’s Known Traveller Digital Identity (KTDI) pilot program.
Pilot partners include the Government of Canada, the Government of the Netherlands, Montreal-Trudeau airport, Toronto Pearson airport, Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, and air carriers KLM and Air Canada, as listed on the KTDI website.
“The Known Traveller Digital Identity, or KTDI, is a World Economic Forum initiative that brings together a global consortium of individuals, governments, authorities and the travel industry to enhance security in world travel,” said the website.
“The first global collaboration of its kind, KTDI enables more secure and more seamless travel that benefits both travellers and the travel industry.”
The KTDI concept was founded by a “multi-stakeholder working group launched in 2015 which included governments, industry and international organizations.”
According to the website, the program’s goal through accessing “verifiable claims of a traveller’s identity,” is to easily assess the credibility of a traveller to “optimize passenger processing and reduce risk.”
“In January 2018, the Governments of Canada and the Netherlands committed to piloting components of the KTDI concept in collaboration with private sector partners in an international cross-border context and a pilot group was established to drive these efforts,” said the website.
KTDI said individuals will be able to manage their own profile and “collect digital attestations of their personal data,” but will be able to decide what data is shared and when.
Attestations can be added — such as proof of citizenship, proof of entry or exit to a country — and any others needed for travel, such as proof of vaccination in Canada.
“The more attestations a traveller accumulates and shares, the better consortium partners, governments and other parties can provide a smooth and safe travel experience,” said the website.
Participation in the pilot program is by invitation only, and, according to the website, passengers will be selected directly from the airline partners or from employees of participating consortium partners and must be Dutch or Canadian nationals over 18 years of age.
A Security in Travel report from March 2016 found on the website said growing concerns around “travel security” need solutions.
Among other recommendations, the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Travel and Tourism said the “further adoption of new technology based on electronic data management to strengthen security systems” is necessary to make travel and tourism more secure.
The report also said another solution to enabling seamless travel would include “verifying an individual’s eligibility to travel” based on “advanced data analytics, background checks and data sharing.”
A “smart travel approach” includes the use of digital IDs and the development of a “trusted global travellers” framework that will aid governments in their ability to “proactively manage” crises that arise from wars, terrorism, pandemics and natural disasters, according to the WEF.
“With international arrivals forecasted to reach 1.8 billion by 2030, compared with 1.2 billion today; the industry must pursue its commitment to securely and seamlessly enable the movement of legitimate travellers,” said the WEF in a Digital Borders report.
“While significant progress has been made, the industry not only wants to incrementally improve the security and experience of its passengers but also to envision a framework
for the cross-border movement of people in the future.”
Canada’s involvement in the pilot project was announced in February 2018, following the WEF in Davos the month beforehand.
“The KTDI pilot project will contribute to “Transportation 2030: A Strategic Plan for the Future of Transportation in Canada,” said Transport Canada’s Departmental Plan on the Government of Canada website.
Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard