Ontario is proposing to eliminate enhanced driver’s licences that are used at border crossings.
According to a recent CBC article, these types of licences allow drivers to enter the United States, at water and land border crossings, without a passport.
This type of licence, as noted in the article, costs an extra $40 above the regular $90 driver’s licence fee.
“The driver’s licence option was introduced in 2009, when the U.S. required passports or other secure identification for anyone crossing into the country by land or sea, but it hasn’t had the anticipated uptake,” reads the article.
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However, the government is planning to introduce a new program – NEXUS, FAST and ePassport – which, according to Bob Nichols, Senior Media Liaison Officer, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, is expected to be more efficient and provide more flexibility when it comes to land, water, and air international travel.
However, Ontario is still planning to consult on the elimination of the enhanced driver’s licence program.
“Any planned changes will be implemented using a phased approach to ensure minimal impact to cardholders, this includes additional notices about, alternative programs (as referenced above), transitioning to those programs and timelines to do so based on EDL [enhanced driver’s licence] card expiry dates,” Nichols said via email.
Nichols continued to explain, “The amendments are being developed in a way that meets the needs of the industry without compromising road safety.”
If the program is eliminated, approximately 60,000 cardholders will be impacted. Letters will be sent out to cardholders regarding any changes to the program.
If the program is eliminated, cardholders will transfer automatically to a regular driver’s licence card upon their renewal period.
As noted by Nichols, this will allow for a minimum three month, up to a five-year, notification period.
This will provide time for existing cardholders to apply for the alternative program if they so choose to do so, to address back-end system changes, to cancel the agreement with the federal counterparts, and the cost will be that of a normal renewal.