Kick-starting the discussion on EDLs

This page has been archived on the Web

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Two weeks ago, the provincial government of British Columbia announced that it would be making enhanced driver’s licences (EDLs) available to eligible B.C. residents. These licences – a first in Canada – would be recognized as an alternative to a passport at the Canada-U.S. border.

What makes them “enhanced”? The B.C. version of the EDL will feature a Canadian flag, a special code used by border authorities, and most importantly, a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. These chips contain unique identifier numbers which can be read by RFID scanners at U.S. border entry points.

While the RFID chips in B.C.’s EDLs will only contain unique identifier numbers, it is possible to store other types of personal information on these chips. The technology also makes it possible to track the movements of individuals carrying driver’s licences enhanced with RFID chips.

The potential for misuse of personal information or a breach of security exists, and as other provinces consider whether they want to implement their own EDLs, there’s a need for a public discussion about those risks.

Today, Canada’s information and privacy commissioners kick-started that discussion by issuing a joint resolution outlining the steps that will need to be taken to ensure that the privacy and security of our personal information are respected if and when EDL programs are implemented. (You can also read the news release here.)

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply (required): Error 1: This field is required.

Note

Date modified: