What is Assurance Level 4 for e-signatures?

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Assurance Level 4 is a level of assurance for electronic signature processes established by the Government of Canada. It represents the highest level of assurance under the Canadian government’s policy on electronic signatures.

Not all e-signing products that state they are legal and secure actually meet Assurance Level 4, the highest ranking. Whether your business is small, medium or large, you need to know the electronic signatures you are capturing are legitimate if challenged. Using an Assurance Level 4 provider is the best choice for e-signatures. 

The Government of Canada has established various levels of assurance ranging from 1 to 4, with 1 being the lowest and 4 being the highest. These assurance levels relate to how confident parties can be that signers are who they say they are based on how they proved their identities. Assurance level 4 is therefore the highest under the Canadian government’s policy on electronic signatures and provides very high confidence that an individual is who they claim to be.

eZsign e-signature solution is assurance level 4, a top tier secure, legal signature product. 

Here are definitions of all the identity assurance levels:

  • Level 1: Little confidence that an individual is who they claim to be.
  • Level 2: Some confidence that an individual is who they claim to be.
  • Level 3: High confidence that an individual is who they claim to be.
  • Level 4: Very high confidence that an individual is who they claim to be.

What does assurance level 4 really mean for electronic signatures?

Assurance Level 4 means that the signer’s identity was confirmed using the minimum identity assurance requirements set out in the Guideline on Identity Assurance and that the signer’s identity was further confirmed using multi-factor cryptographic hardware device like a smart card, biometric identifier like a fingerprint, or a secure one-time password. They must also use a secure signature creation device (SSCD) to generate their electronic signature. An SSCD is a hardware device that can create a unique electronic signature that is linked to the signer and cannot be replicated or reused.

This is a lot of tech-speak, and it can be a little difficult to understand. If you only remember one thing: assurance level 4 gives you the confidence to be sure that the signer is who they say they are and that the document has not been tampered with in any way since it was signed. 

What is the difference between level 4 assurance and other levels?

Assurance level 3 through assurance level 1 provide a decreasing level of confidence in the identity of the signer. For level 1, the signer can simply claim that they are who they say, without providing any proof. In some low-stakes cases, this level of assurance may be perfectly fine. But when your reputation or livelihood is at stake, you’ll need something more substantial. 

When and why do I need assurance level 4 for e-signatures?

Different documents require different levels of security. For example, a time-off request form does not require the same level of security as a legal document like a contract. 

As a rule, if you’re signing anything where there’s a risk of financial or reputational loss, you’ll want to use e-signatures with assurance level 4.

Have more questions? The eZsign e-signature team are experts and will help you find the right solution for your needs.

Give us a call! We’d be happy to answer your questions.

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