Attention, travellers. Air Canada just announced the launch of their new digital identification system – the first of its kind in Canada, allowing travellers to use facial recognition technology to confirm their identification.

The pilot project has officially launched at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), and is available for passengers boarding select flights to Winnipeg. As well, eligible customers visiting the Air Canada Café at Toronto Pearson International Airport can test out the new tech for themselves.

Canada’s Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, said this pilot has great potential.

“Air Canada’s pilot project will speed up processes at YVR, and other airports where it’s established, while respecting robust privacy measures and security standards. This project has great potential in making gate boarding easier and faster for Canadian passengers, while maintaining strong safety measures,” said Alghabra.

Note that participation in the new digital ID program is completely voluntary, according to the release.

How it works

Eligible customers can expect to receive an invitation to use the digital identification option prior to arriving at the airport, along with instructions on how to create their secure digital faceprint.

Those who would rather stick with their boarding passes and government-issued photo IDs can continue to do so.

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Privacy & security

Note that biometric data will be stored solely on the customer’s phone, and Air Canada requires additional consent for this data to be used on the day of travel. According to the airline’s privacy & security standards, customer data will only be retained for up to 36 hours.

Air Canada plans to expand digital identification options to select Canadian airports and Maple Leaf Lounges as part of its pilot project phase. Those interested can sign up for alerts so that they’ll be the first to know when the new ID system is available near them.

Safe travels, Vancouver!