The future is officially here — well, not quite, but it will be in a few months. The province of Ontario is gearing up to launch its brand new digital identification program that will essentially replace the plastic card in your wallet with a digital version you can access on your phone. It’s set to come out at the end of 2021, and here’s how it works.

The province will be coming out with a digital wallet app that you can use on smartphones and other devices like your tablet or laptop. There, you’ll be able to access your trusted government ID, which will be protected with strong encryption.

So, when you’re buying a lottery ticket, picking up a package, applying for CERB or other government assistance, or opening a bank account, you can just whip out your phone and open up the app. Businesses can use the app to hire new employees, verify a customer’s identity, and more — you can see a detailed list of all potential uses here.

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Setting it up is pretty straightforward. Download the app, sign up and verify your ID online or in person, add your credentials, and off you go. The province will be sharing a more detailed step-by-step guide in the coming months.

The government says this version of your ID will be much safer than your hard copy since your digital ID can easily be turned off if your phone is lost or stolen. But, if you’re not on board with the idea, don’t worry — it’s completely voluntary and you can still use your plastic ID whenever you want.

To clear up any misconceptions, the government says your digital ID is not stored in a central database, it’s not a tracking device and it can’t be accessed without your permission. Your consent will always be required to share any of your personal info.

It looks like our pieces of plastic could be relics of the past someday. Gone, but never forgotten!