Ontario Introduces Passport Alternative



    McGuinty Government Proposes Enhanced Driver's Licence and Photo ID Cards

    TORONTO, June 3 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    The Ontario government today introduced legislation that, if passed, will
allow Ontarians to use an enhanced driver's licence
(http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/dandv/driver/enhancedcards.htm) as an
alternative to a passport when crossing Canada-U.S. borders by land and sea.
    Starting June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will require all visitors to
prove their citizenship at the border.
    With more than 92,000 cars and over 22,300 trucks carrying almost
$650 million in goods crossing the Ontario-U.S. borders daily, the new card
will ensure that those without a passport can cross the border using the
enhanced card.
    An enhanced driver's licence would include the same security features
introduced by the McGuinty government in December 2007 to protect against
fraud, misuse and identity theft, while also giving Ontarians the option of
adding Canadian citizenship information.
    Also proposed today is a photo card for people who do not drive, which
has long been advocated by youth, people with disabilities and senior
communities. Holders of the proposed photo card who are Canadian citizens will
also have the option of enhancing this card for use as a passport alternative.

    QUOTES

    "Our government is making it easier for people to travel to and from the
U.S. by giving drivers the option of using an enhanced driver's licence as a
passport alternative at land and sea border crossings. Safe and efficient
borders help keep our economy moving," said Transportation Minister Jim
Bradley (http://www.mto.gov.on.ca/english/about/minister.htm).
    "Making cross-border travel easier is important for tourism on both sides
of the border. We will continue to work closely with our neighbours in New
York, Michigan, and other states as they work on similar initiatives for their
citizens, whom we welcome to Ontario with open arms," said Tourism Minister
Peter Fonseca (http://www.tourism.gov.on.ca/english/about/bio.htm).

    
    QUICK FACTS

    -   Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all travellers
        entering and leaving the U.S. by land or sea will be required to show
        a passport or an accepted alternative as of June 1, 2009.
    -   Nearly four million people in Ontario do not have a driver's licence
        and therefore do not have access to a basic identification document.
    -   In December 2007, the Ontario government introduced a more secure
        Ontario driver's licence card that helps protect against fraud,
        misuse and identity theft.
    -   If passed, this legislation would also include the introduction of
        photo comparison technology - a leading-edge fraud-prevention measure
        that would help prevent multiple cards from being issued to single
        individuals.
    

    LEARN MORE

    Visit the Canadian Border Service Agency's website for more information
on the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
    (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/whti-ivho/menu-eng.html), including new rules
for traveling to and from the U.S.

    Planning to travel closer to home? Check out weekend getaways 
(http://www.ontariotravel.net/TCISSegmentsWeb/main.portal?language=en) in
Ontario.

    
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    BACKGROUNDER
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                   ENHANCED DRIVER'S LICENCE AND PHOTO CARD

    Will my travel plans be affected by the Western Hemisphere Travel
Initiative?

    All Ontarians travelling to and from the U.S. are already affected by the
Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
    (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/whti-ivho/menu-eng.html):

    -   Since January 2007, travellers entering the U.S. by air have been
        required to present a passport or a NEXUS card
        (http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/prog/nexus/about-sujet-eng.html).
    -   Since January 2008, travellers to U.S. by land and sea have been
        required to show proof of citizenship with their identification, such
        as a birth certificate. This means that Ontarians travelling to the
        U.S. now must be prepared to show proof of citizenship, such as a
        birth certificate, when crossing the border.

    The final phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will come into
effect on June 1, 2009. After this date, Ontarians will be required to show
either a passport or an accepted passport alternative, such as a NEXUS card, a
Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card, or, if legislation is passed, an enhanced
driver's licence.

    The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative does provide some exceptions for
youth, for example:
    -   Youth 15 years of age and under will only require proof of Canadian
        citizenship, such as a birth certificate.
    -   Youth 18 years of age and under who are travelling with a school
        group or other organized group, under adult supervision with
        parental/guardian consent may also present proof of citizenship
        alone.
    

    Who can apply for an enhanced driver's licence?

    If the proposed legislation is passed, any Canadian citizen holding a
valid Ontario driver's licence will have the option of adding citizenship
information to their existing driver's licence for use as a passport
alternative at land and sea Canada-U.S. border crossings.
    The enhanced driver's licence would provide drivers with a more secure,
affordable alternative to obtaining a regular Canadian passport.
    Travellers who already have a passport may prefer to carry the enhanced
driver's licence when entering the U.S. by land or sea because, like a
driver's licence, the new card is wallet-sized and more convenient to carry.
    The new enhanced driver's licence is expected to be available by winter
2008/2009.

    Who can apply for a photo card and enhanced photo card?

    The proposed legislation would give people who do not drive the option of
obtaining a convenient, government-issued photo identification card which is
often requested for everyday transactions - such as opening a bank account or
proving age for a senior discount.
    Ontario residents aged 12 and over who do not hold a valid driver's
licence would be eligible to apply for a photo card. This wallet-sized card
would contain basic information about the card holder, such as date of birth,
name and photograph.
    Travellers may wish to "enhance" their card to include a citizenship
identifier. This Enhanced Photo Card could then be used as a passport
alternative when crossing Canada-U.S. borders by land or sea.
    The photo card is expected to be available by spring 2010.

    
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                                              ontario.ca/transportation-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Nicole Lippa-Gasparro, Minister's Office, (416)
327-1815; Bob Nichols, Communications Branch, (416) 327-1158

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