The Canadian Bankers Association has welcomed the introduction of "tough" new laws designed to combat identity theft.
The Canadian government re-introduced a bill in April after an initial attempt in 2007 failed to make it through committee debate.
Bill S-4 has now been granted Royal Assent in a move the government says will provide police and justice officials with important new tools in the fight against identity theft.
The act will create three new offences targeting the early stages of identity-related crime, all of which will carry up to five years in prison.
The bill covers obtaining and possessing identity information, trafficking in ID data and holding or trafficking in government-issued identity documents.
It also give courts the power to order an offender to pay restitution to a victim of ID theft or fraud where they have incurred expenses related to rehabilitating their identity.
The Canadian Bankers Association (CBA), MasterCard and Equifax have all welcomed the legislation.
"With this legislation, law enforcement agencies will now be able to charge criminals for possessing the personal information of others before it is used for fraud or theft. Police were not able to do that before, so this is a huge step forward," says Nancy Hughes Anthony, CEO, CBA.