Manitoba steers efforts towards enhanced licenses

WINNIPEG — The enhanced driver’s license crusade is in full swing in Manitoba as proposed legislative amendments have been introduced.

The changes would allow Manitoba to develop a voluntary enhanced driver’s licence as well as an identification card that would meet border travel requirements in the U.S., Attorney General Dave Chomiak, minister responsible for Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI), recently revealed.

“We are continuing to make progress towards a system that will offer Manitobans a new, affordable and secure form of identification,” Chomiak said. “This system will improve security and facilitate the flow of citizens across the border and meet identification needs here at home.”

Manitoba has been working closely with several provinces, the Canadian government and the United States to develop an enhanced driver’s licence as well as an identification card for non-drivers, both of which would meet U.S. cross-border requirements under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative.

As of June 1, 2009, all Canadians entering the U.S. by land or sea will have to present an approved document confirming their citizenship and identity. Manitoba is striving to create an enhanced drivers’ licence as well as an identification card for non-drivers for land or sea entry that will meet the requirements of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Passports will still be required for air travel.

Under the new system, Manitoba drivers would be able to choose either a regular or enhanced licence, while non-drivers would be able to apply for a regular or enhanced ID card.

Manitoba Public Insurance will deliver these improvements through the system used to create and renew provincial driver’s licences. Implementation will be rolled out during a two-year period to give computer systems the proper time to be changed and some aspects of certain initiatives will need to be approved by the public regulator.

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