"When you don't have ID, it seems like you don't exist."

- ID Clinic User

Our Inspiration

Street Health is one of Canada's largest providers of ID services, processing hundreds of applications each month. The demand they meet is so great, it had outgrown the capacity of their MS Access system when they came to Northern Village for an upgrade.

We carefully studied their existing data management system and ID services. Then we built them a platform that was easy to use on any screen or accessibility device. We worked closely with Street Health staff to test the application as it was being built, and to ensure continuinty after transfering data from the old system.

Awhile later we started hearing from a range of other community organizations across Canada that needed a similar system. Many of them had been relying on paper-based records, outdated software, or software designed for other purposes. Often their systems weren't web-enabled so the data was difficult to back-up and impossible to access out of the office. Many were unable to offer ID services online for this reason when in lockdown.

With support from the Community Foundations of Canada Investment Readiness Program, we've redeveloped Access2ID to meet the needs of these valuable ID service providers, becoming the first adaptable, purpose built product on the market. 

Original Street Health Access to ID banner.

Original Street Health Access to ID

The Challenge

Street Health clients live on the margins of society, and one of their biggest challenges is to have proper identification. They may not have their ID, whether that be a birth certificate, health card or others. In addition, they provide a service where clients can safely store their ID. Street Health wanted a system to manage ID application requests. A separate service is to store ID for clients, so that it can be kept in a safe place.

Street Health wanted to merge three separate, outdated Access Databases to have a one new online system that could handle the administration of ID needs of their clients. It was also important to have the ability to update the system through only a web browser and that all of the data be as secure as possible.

The Solution

Northern Village undertook a thorough review of the existing management system for the Access to ID program. This started with a review the current ID Software Applications in detail, analysing the data structures to ensure all the information will be captured in the new application.

The new system was developed, with the goal of being easy to use through a web browser making sure that all existing functions were in the system , ensuring that it works on all screens and accessiblity devices.. Northern Village worked closely with staff to review the application as it was being built, and adding functionality that would make the process smoother and more effective. Testing by staff was done after each component was complete.

Once the software was completed and tested, the current MS Access database was converted to the new system, and the two systems were run in parallel to make sure that all aspects of the old system were covered in the new. Once that was confirmed the old system was retired.

This system forms the basis of Access2ID.





Filling in application form

Photo courtesy Street Health

The Results

Street Health's Access to ID software was launched in April 2019. Since then, they have been tracking hundreds of interactions per month. Kapri Rabin, the Executive Director of Street Health writes:

"The Access to ID system that Northern Village created for us has significantly reduced the time we spend administering our Access to ID program. Since the software is web-based, it can be accessed from anywhere, which helps when clients are inquiring about the status of their application. We have been able to run the software since 2019 without incident. If there are changes needed, Northern Village is responsive to our needs. We find that by providing these services, our clients have better health outcomes primarily because they have a health card, can obtain housing or a job because they have a birth certificate." - Kapri Rabin, Executive Director of Street Health