B.C's Enhanced Driver's Licence for U.S. border use goes public

    VANCOUVER, April 6 /CNW Telbec/ - British Columbians can start applying
for B.C.'s Enhanced Driver's Licence (EDL) - a driver's licence that also
allows the cardholder to cross into the United States at land or water ports
of entry between Canada and the United States with a single piece of
identification. B.C. is also offering an Enhanced Identification Card (EIC)
for persons who do not drive and for young adults over the age of 12 years.
    The announcement of full implementation for the EDL/EIC program was made
today jointly by B.C. Minister of State for Intergovernmental Relations Joan
McIntyre and Russ Hiebert, Member of Parliament for South Surrey, White Rock
and Cloverdale, on behalf of the Honourable Peter Van Loan, the federal
Minister of Public Safety.
    "We have worked very hard with the Government of Canada and federal
agencies in the U.S. over the last couple of years to introduce an Enhanced
Driver's Licence," said McIntyre. "We are delighted that we can now offer this
service to all Canadian citizens residing in B.C. Ease of cross-border travel
is vital to families, communities and businesses on both sides of the border."
    "The Government of Canada is taking the steps necessary to ensure that
legitimate trade and travel across our border are not disrupted as a result of
the Unites States Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative," said Minister Van
Loan. "Through our efforts, the U.S. Government now recognizes that enhanced
driver's licences and enhanced identification cards can serve as an acceptable
and secure alternative to passports at U.S. land and water border crossings.
Today's announcement provides yet another example of the results we are
achieving through our ongoing partnership with the Government of British
    The new U.S. law requires all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian
citizens, to present a valid passport or other secure document when entering
the U.S. from within the western hemisphere.
    The B.C. enhanced cards are now in the final stages of approval by the
U.S. government. The full implementation of the British Columbia EDL/EIC
program follows a successful test phase that was launched in January 2008,
with 521 volunteers. Today's announcement follows through on a commitment made
between B.C. and Washington State to keep our borders running smoothly,
particularly in the run up to the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter
Games - where approximately 25,000 people per day are expected to cross the
    "The Enhanced Driver's Licence will be a convenient, efficient and secure
document to enter the U.S. by land or water," said B.C.'s Minister of Public
Safety and Solicitor-General John van Dongen. "The licence will incorporate
the latest security features to prevent identity theft, fraud and
counterfeiting. We have conducted a full privacy impact assessment and engaged
in regular consultation with both provincial and federal privacy
    The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is now accepting
appointment bookings for customers interested in applying for an EDL or EIC,
with appointments starting May 1, 2009.
    The EDL program has been developed by the Province of British Columbia
and ICBC, in cooperation with the Canada Border Services Agency and
Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Both the EDL and EIC are voluntary and
will be available for an incremental fee of $35.
    Full details on how to apply are available online at: www.icbc.com.

    A backgrounder is available.


    (April 6, 2009)                 Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat
                                                      Public Safety Canada


    The Enhanced Driver's Licence (EDL) and Enhanced Identification Card
(EIC) are new options for Canadian citizens residing in British Columbia.
    In addition to being valid forms of identification and, for the EDL, a
valid licence to drive, these cards denote the cardholder's Canadian
citizenship. When approved by the U.S., it will be a valid document to enter
the U.S. from Canada by land or water. A reminder that a valid passport or a
NEXUS card is still required for travel to, through, or from the U.S. by air.

    How to apply?

    Read "Your Guide to B.C.'s Enhanced Driver's Licence Program" to confirm
eligibility. The guide is available for downloading at www.icbc.com or from
any Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) Driver Licensing Centre.
    Next, book an application appointment online at www.icbc.com or by
calling 1-866-972-6888. ICBC is expecting high interest in the new cards and
applicants are encouraged to book online to avoid phone wait times. ICBC is
now accepting EDL applications, with appointments starting on May 1.
    Attend your appointment at an EDL-designated ICBC Driver Licensing Centre
to provide documentary evidence of identity and citizenship and complete the
necessary documentation. EDL Driver Licensing Centres can be found in the
following locations:

    - Abbotsford                      - North Vancouver
    - Burnaby                         - Prince George
    - Coquitlam                       - Richmond
    - Kamloops                        - Surrey
    - Kelowna                         - Vancouver
    - Nanaimo                         - Victoria

    Upon successfully applying for an EDL, you will be issued an interim
driver's licence which is valid for 60 days. The interim driver's licence
cannot be used to enter the U.S.
    Customers should receive their EDL approximately two weeks before the
expiry of their interim driver's licence. If they have not received their EDL
by that time, they should call the EDL Customer Line at 1-866-972-6888. An EDL
should be activated as soon it is received in the mail, and at least 48 hours
before it can be used to enter the U.S. by land or water.

    How much do the cards cost?

    EDLs and EICs have an incremental fee of $35.00 to cover the additional
costs of processing the new cards and are subject to the standard licensing
fee depending on your current card expiry date.

    Protection of privacy

    The EDL and EIC program requires that certain personal information be
shared with Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), the U.S. Customs and Border
Protection (CBP) and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC). If a person
does not wish to share this information, there are other eligible documents to
use to enter the United States by land or water - primarily a passport.
    The cards contain the same information as your current B.C. Driver's
Licence or B.C. Identification Card, with some additional features. These
features include:

    - Ability to establish your Canadian citizenship.
    - A machine readable zone of encoded data, just like a passport, that can
      be scanned at the inspection booth.
    - A radio frequency identification technology (RFID) chip that will
      facilitate traveller processing at the U.S. border.

    All the information contained within the cards will be stored in a secure
database located in Canada and maintained by CBSA and will only be accessed
when the cardholder presents the card at the U.S. land or water border. At
that point, it is used to establish the identity and citizenship of the
    When applying for an EDL or EIC, applicants will be asked to complete a
citizenship and entitlement-to-travel questionnaire and sign a personal
information consent form that authorizes ICBC to disclose information related
to the cards to the CBSA and Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), and for
CBSA to disclose the information to the U.S. CBP, only when the cardholder
presents it to enter the U.S. by land or water.
    The only personal information disclosed to U.S. border authorities is:
first and last name, birth date, gender, citizenship, licence expiry date,
your digital photograph, licence status, licence issuing province, your RFID
unique identifier and tag ID number and your machine readable unique
identifier. Driving qualifications, driving conviction history, penalties or
medical conditions are not disclosed.
    In developing the EDL and EIC, both the federal and provincial privacy
commissioners were consulted to ensure the program complied with all
applicable privacy legislation.

    Radio frequency identification (RFID) chip

    A RFID chip is contained within the EDL and EIC to make border-crossing
both secure and convenient. The chip contains a unique reference number that
is used by U.S. border officials to obtain the cardholder's EDL information
from the secure database located in Canada. U.S. border officials then use
this information to establish the citizenship and identity of the cardholder.
The RFID tag ID number is also verified to ensure that the card is not
counterfeit. The RFID unique reference number and the tag ID number are not
the same as the driver's licence number or identification card number. No
personal information is contained within the chip.
    All cardholders will be provided with a protective sleeve for their
enhanced card. The sleeve will prevent the card from being accessed by
unauthorized readers when not in use for border-crossing purposes.

For further information:

For further information: Alex Dabrowski, Communications Manager,
Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat, (250) 356-7373; Media Relations
(Headquarters), Canada Border Services Agency, (613) 957-6500; Adam Grossman ,
Insurance Corporation of B.C., (604) 982-1332

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