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Vancouver, British Columbia, April 6, 2009 — 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 Columbia”
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 border.
“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 commissioners.”
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.
For media information:
Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat
Media Relations (Headquarters)
Canada Border Services Agency
Insurance Corporation of B.C.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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 cardholder
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.
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.