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Ontario Introduces Passport Alternative

Archived News Release

Ontario Introduces Passport Alternative

McGuinty Government Proposes Enhanced Driver's Licence and Photo ID Cards

Ministry of Transportation

The Ontario government today introduced legislation that, if passed, will allow Ontarians to use an enhanced driver's licence as an alternative to a passport when crossing Canada-U.S. borders by land and sea.

Starting June 1, 2009, the U.S. government will require all visitors to
prove their citizenship at the border.

With more than 92,000 cars and over 22,300 trucks carrying almost
$650 million in goods crossing the Ontario-U.S. borders daily,
the new cardwill ensure that those without a passport can cross
the border using the enhanced card.

An enhanced driver's licence would include the same security
featuresintroduced by the McGuinty government in December 2007
to protect against fraud, misuse and identity theft, while also
giving Ontarians the option of adding Canadian citizenship

Also proposed today is a photo card for people who do not drive,
which has long been advocated by youth, people with disabilities
and senior communities. Holders of the proposed photo card who
are Canadian citizens will also have the option of enhancing this
card for use as a passport alternative.

Quick Facts

  • Under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, all travellers entering and leaving the U.S. by land or sea will be required to show a passport or an accepted alternative as of June 1, 2009.
  • Nearly four million people in Ontario do not have a driver's licence and therefore do not have access to a basic identification document.
  • In December 2007, the Ontario government introduced a more secure Ontario driver's licence card that helps protect against fraud, misuse and identity theft.
  • If passed, this legislation would also include the introduction of photo comparison technology - a leading-edge fraud-prevention measure that would help prevent multiple cards from being issued to single individuals.

Background Information

Additional Resources


“Our government is making it easier for people to travel to and from the U.S. by giving drivers the option of using an enhanced driver's licence as a passport alternative at land and sea border crossings. Safe and efficient borders help keep our economy moving.”

Jim Bradley

Minister of Transportation

“Making cross-border travel easier is important for tourism on both sides of the border. We will continue to work closely with our neighbours in New York, Michigan, and other states as they work on similar initiatives for their citizens, whom we welcome to Ontario with open arms.”

Peter Fonseca

Minister of Tourism and Recreation



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