Canada’s Province of Quebec has unveiled its Enhanced Driver’s License. The license, which includes both a bar code and an embedded RFID chip, is approved for use as a passport alternative in crossing the U.S. land border.
The enhanced license will cost Quebecers $40 (Canadian) more than a standard license. Provincial officials believe it will be useful for residents who live near the U.S. border and cross it frequently, eliminating the need to carry a passport on a daily basis.
As a security precaution, the ID’s RFID chip will not carry sensitive personal information. The chip will instead be programmed with an identification code, which when scanned will bring up a screen of data for the border guard’s perusal. This is a security measure for secure IDs now being issued in the U.S. as well.
Quebec is the first Canadian province to produce an enhanced card approved under the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which goes into effect on June 1. A pilot program for a similar ID is under way in British Columbia, while the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan are combining their efforts in a program to produce one.
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