Step 2: Applying for benefits

Provide ID attestation and verification


Lack of government ID is a significant barrier for many clients. You may want to support clients when they require ID to be attested to or verified. The level of support you offer will depend on the province or territory you live in, and the professional certification required. Be sure to research your province’s laws around ID attestation and verification.

  • Attestation is the proof or evidence of something. It can refer to the witnessing of something or formally verifying something to be true. In the case of taxes and benefits it may be a document that verifies the person or where they reside.
  • Verification is the process of establishing the truth, accuracy, or validity of something.

  • Staff Time: To research requirements needed to offer this service will likely vary from province to province.
  • Obtaining Credentials: Once you have identified the credentials and process needed for your region, you will need to determine what staff member(s) should go through the credentialing process.
  • Referrals: If you are not able to offer ID attestation, look in your network and community, or build relationships with local government offices (depending on the province). Leaning into the referral systems and networks you have may be a way to fill the ID gap for your clients.
  • Partnerships: There might be opportunities to build relationships with local organizations, business, and institutions in order to vouch for your clients, in order to provide them with services or products they might need and would otherwise not have access to because of lack of access to ID. This could be bank accounts, applying for benefits, or obtaining certain documents at a registry (province permitting).

There are three main types of ID verification and attestation:

  • Personally vouching for an individual (no certification required)
  • Attesting for an individual’s identity (some certification required)
  • Legally verifying an individual’s identity (often done by a lawyer)

It is up to you and your organization to determine which type of support you can offer.

Additionally, not all ID verification done at social services offices look like official attestation and verification. Often, workers may just need to find the best way to get their client’s ID verified so that they may receive services, apply to benefits, or qualify for a bank account. This service could look like walking clients through the process of obtaining ID, building partnerships with organizations and vouching for your clients.

  • In Manitoba, there are Commissioners for Oaths which can take an attestation of someone which involves witnessing a statement or signature. They cannot certify true copies. That can only be done by a notary public and a notary public must be a lawyer with the bar.
  • Individuals in the community – social workers, nursing staff, guards in jail, may form partnerships with certain institutions requiring ID in order to vouch on behalf of their client. This method allows individuals to file important paperwork even if they do not have a driver’s licence or other form of ID. This will only work if there are specific agreements put in place. Be sure to research your province’s laws around ID attestation and verification.
  • Community Financial Counselling Services (CFCS) has a Verified Partner program that allows social service providers to confirm and vouch for a client’s identity around tax filing.

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Best practices

Get practical tools, methods, and advice. Learn from other organizations who are already providing access to benefits services by accessing this collection of their best practices.

Best practices