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For Immediate Release April 6, 2009

Enhanced driver's licence for U.S. border goes public

Enhanced driver's licence for U.S. border goes public

VANCOUVER - 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 crossborder 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 - when 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.

Media Contacts:
Alex Dabrowski
Communications Manager
Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat
Tel: 250 356-7373

Media Relations (Headquarters)
Canada Border Services Agency
Tel: 613 957-6500

Adam Grossman
ICBC Communications
Tel: 604 982-1332