Cyber Authentication Renewal Initiative Frequently Asked Questions for Users

April 2014

In General

Why is the Government of Canada offering users a choice of credentials?

By offering a choice of credentials, the government is making its online services more convenient for clients to access. Many individuals use their online banking credentials regularly so being able to use the same credential to access government services online will also mean one less User ID and password for clients to remember.

Are the online banking credentials as secure as the ones issued by the Government of Canada?

Yes. The same authentication process and security requirements are used, whether one chooses to use their banking credential through SecureKey Concierge or the government-issued credential service called GCKey. The authentication process does not carry any personally identifiable information such as name, birth date etc. and relies on strong technology, built using industry best practices. By offering clients the choice of using a banking credential, the Government of Canada is leveraging the investments made by financial institutions in secure online environments.

I am already enrolled with one Government of Canada service. Why do I need to provide basic identity information again to enroll in services from other departments?

Each government service or program requests your personal information based on their specific requirements and to determine eligibility or entitlement. The Government of Canada must adhere to the Privacy Act, which restricts the information that can be shared between departments and agencies.

About using a Sign-In Partner

What is a Sign-In Partner?

Sign-In Partners are organizations that have partnered with SecureKey Technologies to enable their customers to use their online credentials, such as card numbers or user names and passwords, to access Government of Canada services. Currently there are five Sign-In Partners: BMO Financial Group, CHOICE REWARDS MasterCard, Scotiabank, Tangerine and TD Bank Group.

Who are the Sign-In Partners?

There are currently five financial institutions that have partnered with SecureKey Technologies. These are BMO Financial Group, CHOICE REWARDS MasterCard, Scotiabank, Tangerine and TD Bank Group.  It is expected that other Sign-In Partners will be added in the future, so keep checking the list of Sign-In Partners when you log in to access Government of Canada services.

What are the advantages of using my online banking credentials?

Your online banking credentials are familiar as you may already use them on a regular basis. Using your banking credential to access government services is convenient as you don’t have to remember a different user ID and password.

The safekeeping of Canadians’ information online is a priority for the Government of Canada and measures have been put in place to ensure secure online access which respects privacy.

Remember that when you use a Sign-In Partner with your online banking credential, none of your banking or personally identifiable information is communicated to the government service you are trying to access and the Government of Canada will not know which Sign-In Partner (or financial institution) you have used. Similarly, no information about the government service being accessed by the user will be shared with the user's bank.

The financial institution I do business with is not on the list of Sign-In Partners.  What alternative do I have when I want to access government services online?

Individuals who do not have a credential with one of the Sign-In Partners can use the government-issued credential, GCKey.  To access the CRA’s services you will need to register for a CRA user ID and password.

It is expected that other Sign-In Partners will be added in the future, so keep checking the list of Sign-In Partners when you log in to access Government of Canada services.

If I use a Sign-In Partner, will I still be able to use a GCKey?

Yes, if you wish to do so, you can use a different credential to access each Government of Canada service. However, you will need to remember which credential you used with each of those services.

Is any of my banking information shared if I use a Sign-In Partner?

No, your banking information is not shared when you use a Sign-In Partner.

The technology is designed in such a way that the Government of Canada will not know which Sign-In Partner (or financial institution) you have used. Similarly, the bank will not know which government department or agency its customer contacted. Also, the credential broker which facilitates this interaction, will not know the identity of the individual or business.

The participating financial institutions and departments and agencies will not share any information that identifies individuals, as directed under privacy legislation.

I bank with one of the Sign-In Partners on your list, but I’m not registered to bank online.  Am I still able to access my Government of Canada account using my Sign-In Partner?

To log in using a Sign-In Partner, you must be registered with your financial institution for online banking access.  Your bank will assist you in registering online.

My Sign-In Partner knows who I am, why do I still have to provide my basic identity information to enroll in a Government of Canada service?

The Sign-In Partner does not provide any identity information to the Government and simply validates your user name or card number and password.  Each government service requires your personal information based on their specific needs and to determine eligibility or entitlement. The Government of Canada must adhere to the Privacy Act which restricts the information that can be shared between departments and agencies.

About GCKey

What is GCKey?

A GCKey is a unique electronic credential (username and password) that allows you to communicate securely with online government services.  The Government of Canada, as the service provider, issues these credentials to individuals so they can access government online services.

Why has the Government of Canada introduced GCKey?

The GCKey service was introduced as one of two robust and cost effective service options to replace the Access Key service. GCKey is a Government of Canada-managed service that issues credentials specifically to access federal government services online.  The GCKey service can be used by clients who do not have, or choose not to use a credential they may have with one of the Sign-In Partners.

How do I get a GCKey?

To register for a GCKey, go to the Government of Canada website that you would like to access and click on the GCKey button when you are presented with the log in choice.

Am I able to access all of the government’s online services with my GCKey?

You are able to use your GCKey to access all available government online services with the exception of services offered by the Canada Revenue Agency. To access the CRA’s services, you must use one of the Sign-In Partners or register for a CRA user ID and password.

Who has access to the information I submit when I register for a GCKey?

The GCKey service does not share your registration information with any third party. The information you provide is held by the Government of Canada and is protected under the Federal Privacy Act.

About the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Credential

I am registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and use my CRA user ID and password to access the CRA’s login services. Can I continue to use my CRA credential?

Yes. You can continue to use your CRA user ID and password to access the CRA’s My Account for Individuals, My Business Account and Represent a Client online services.  The CRA will continue to offer its own credential service.   For more information, go to CRA login services.

Can I use a Sign-In Partner to access the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) online services?

Yes. You can use a Sign-In Partner with your online banking credential to access the CRA’s My Account for Individuals, My Business Account and Represent a Client online services.  For more information go to CRA login services. Those who prefer to use a CRA user ID and password can continue to do so.

Can I use my GCKey to access my Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) online services?

No. To access the CRA’s login services, you must either use one of the Sign-In Partners or register for a CRA user ID and password. For more information, go to CRA login services.

Which credentials can I use to access online services at the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)?

The CRA will continue to use its CRA user ID and password service; no change is required for existing users. You can also use one of the Sign-In Partners with your banking credential to access the CRA’s online services, instead of, or in addition to, the CRA user ID and password. For more information, go to CRA login services.