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Verifying the identity of a client: Government-issued photo ID method

Video explaining the government-issued photo ID method (Transcript)


At the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada (or FINTRAC), we are committed to helping regulated businesses meet their compliance obligations.

This includes the fundamental requirement to verify the identity of a client when conducting certain transactions. There are five methods you can use to verify the identity of a person.

This video explains how to use the government-issued photo identification document method.

To use this method, a person must provide you with a government-issued photo ID, either in person or virtually, and you must ensure that the document is issued by a federal, provincial, or territorial government, or by a foreign government, if it is equivalent to a Canadian document.

You must ensure that the document clearly indicates the person’s name, includes a photo, and has a unique identifying number.

And you must ensure that the document is authentic, valid, and current. Authentic means genuine and having the character of an original, credible, and reliable document or record.

Examine the characteristics of the document like the texture, character spacing, and design features. Look for special security features like holograms and barcodes, or markers like logos and symbols.

Are these features what you expected to see?

Valid means legitimate or authentic and does not appear to have been altered or had any information redacted. For example, an invalid passport due to a name change, is not considered valid.

Current means that the document is up to date and is not expired when the ID is verified.

Once you are satisfied that the document is authentic, valid, and current, you must also ensure that the ID provided matches the name, likeness, and appearance of the person whose identity you are verifying.

This verification step does not need to happen at the same time as your process to ensure that the document is authentic, valid and current, but both steps must be completed in order to use this method.

You can also use this method when a person is not physically present, but you must have a process in place to determine whether the government-issued photo ID is authentic, valid, and current.

One example would be to ask the person to scan their ID into an application or technology of your choosing.

This technology could then compare the ID to known characteristics, security features or markers to determine if it is an authentic document issued by the competent, federal, provincial, or territorial government authority.

You must also have a process to determine whether the photo ID provided matches the name, likeness, and appearance of the person.

You can do this by asking them to appear in a live video call or to send a ‘selfie’ image. Viewing a person along with their photo ID by video call or virtual application is not enough to verify their identity.

This video series is designed to help businesses understand their identity verification obligations under Canada’s federal anti-money laundering/anti-terrorist financing law.

Please refer to the PCMLTFA and associated Regulations for the full description of your obligations. Together, we can all help to safeguard Canadians and the integrity of Canada’s financial system.

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