Cablegate: Ontario to Issue Enhanced Driver's


DE RUEHON #0390/01 3572122
P 222006Z DEC 08 ZDS





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Ontario To Issue Enhanced Driver's
Licenses and Photo Cards in Run Up to WHTI

Ref: Toronto 233
1. (U) Summary: The Ontario Ministry of
Transportation plans to begin issuing Enhanced
Driver's Licenses (EDLs) and Enhanced Photo
Cards (EPCs) this winter to be used as
alternatives to passports in land and sea
crossings to the U.S. The Photo Card Act of
2008 passed the Ontario legislature in November
2008 by a 71-10 vote, despite claims of privacy
And security concerns as raised by the Information
and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO) and
privacy groups. While the stated privacy and
security issues have mostly been addressed, costs
and availability of the cards may mean that t
here will not be an immediate rush for the EDLs
and EPCs. Additionally, further coordination with
USG counterparts seems necessary. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -----
The Ontario Enhanced Driver's License and Photo ID
--------------------------------------------- -----

2. (U) In the run-up to land border implementation
of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI),
the Ontario Ministry of Transportation introduced
the Photo Card Act of 2008, which allows the
province to issue EDLs and EPCs to Ontario
residents. The Ontario legislature passed the
bill in November 2008, making Ontario the second
province, after British Columbia, to adopt the
enhanced licenses.

3. (U) The EDLs and EPCs will include the card
holder's citizenship status and are intended to
be used as an alternative to passports for land
and sea crossings into the United States.
Individuals who need a visa would still be
required to present a valid Canadian passport at
border crossings. Ontario currently does not
issue non-driver photo ID. At present the
Consulate verifies the identity of Canadian
non-drivers by using either newer Ontario
health cards, which include the card holder's
picture or the photo ID cards issued by the
provincially-owned Liquor Control Board of
Ontario. However it is not uncommon for
non-drivers in Ontario to have no photo ID at
all. With the passing of the 2008 Photo Card
Act, Ontario will start issuing a non-driver's
license photo ID card for the first time.

--------------------------------------------- -
A Documentary Process to Determine Citizenship
--------------------------------------------- -

4. (U) A contact at Ontario's Ministry of
Transportation (MoT) explained that the Ministry
will use what he called a documentary process to
certify the citizenship of applicants. EDL
applicants will be required to submit birth
certificates if they are natural born Canadians,
or naturalization documents if they are
naturalized Canadians; proof of identity; and
proof of residence in Ontario. Service Ontario,
a provincial agency, will process such
applications. Service Ontario employees, who
will undergo advanced fraud training, will
review documents to confirm an applicant's
citizenship. In addition, applicants will
also be asked to answer a federally mandated
questionnaire. The Ontario MoT will issue the
EDLs and EPCs after applications are approved.
According to our contact, the MoT has consulted
with the Canadian federal government to mirror
the EDL and EPC processes after the passport
application process. Post understands there is
an Ontario/CBP MOU on the EDLs, but we have not
seen it. It is our understanding that to date
the WHTI program office at CBP has neither
received nor approved Ontario's business
proposal to issue its EDLs.

--------------------------------------------- ---
EDLs to Become Available as Early as Winter 2008
--------------------------------------------- ---

5. (U) The Ontario Government is targeting

winter 2008-09 for EDL availability at selected
Service Ontario locations across the province.
Additional locations may be added in the future.
The fee for an EDL will likely be C$40 above the
regular C$75 driver's license fee for a total of
C$115. EDLs will have five-year validity. This
price is C$30 more than the cost of an adult
Canadian passport which currently costs C$85 for
five year validity. Photo cards for non-drivers
have a target launch in spring 2010 and will be
available at Service Ontario, which is the
clearing house for Ontario Government services.

EDLs Expected to Facilitate Trade and Tourism

6. (U) More than 92,000 cars and 22,300 trucks
carry almost C$800 million in goods across the
Ontario-U.S. border daily. Peter Fonseca,
Ontario Tourism Minister at the time that the
EDL legislation was introduced, said that
Ontario will work closely with neighboring
U.S. states as they implement similar EDL
initiatives. The Ontario government's goal is
to minimize any disruptions in cross-border
travel, he added, and that Ontario will
"welcome to Ontario with open arms," U.S.
citizens with EDLs issued by their own state.

Ontario Privacy Commissioner's Security and
Privacy Concerns

7. (U) The Information and Privacy
Commissioner of Ontario (IPCO), along with
private groups, raised concerns about the
EDLs and made recommendations during
legislative deliberations of the bill in
October 2008. One particular stated concern
was adequate oversight of how U.S. Customs
and Border Protection receives and uses the
personal information of Canadians. Another
claimed concern was the risk RFID technology
embedded in the cards poses to privacy and
security. Possible cloning of the chips was
another concern. According to IPCO, such
scenarios could put users at risk for
identity theft, unauthorized identification,
and covert surveillance of individuals.

8. (U) The recommendations put forward by
IPCO included minimizing the duplication of
data, with Ottawa solely responsible for
keeping a citizenship database. IPCO also
recommended that the Ontario government pursue
adding a privacy-enhancing on/off switch for
the RFID tag embedded in the card. According
to an IPCO contact, the Commission is currently
working with two European firms to develop an
on/off switch, which would enable the cardholder
to control when information is being transmitted
from the card. That technology would not be
available for the first roll out of the cards
this winter, but IPCO hopes it will be offered
in future cards. Meanwhile, EDLs and EPCs will
be issued with an "electronically opaque" sleeve
called a Faraday Cage, to store the card when not
in use. In total, IPCO presented 20
recommendations covering the collection, usage,
and protection of private information. While
the legislature did not follow all of the
recommendations, our IPCO contact stated that
IPCO is satisfied that the bill sufficiently
addresses privacy concerns.

9. (U) Comment: Costs and availability may not
be the only limiting factors for the EDLs and EPCs.
The first cards issued this winter will only be
available in limited locations. Also, residents
may decide to wait until their current drivers'
licenses expire, instead of paying for a new
license right away. Moreover, the market for the
EDLs and EPCs may be limited to residents living
within a couple hours drive from the border and to
those who do not travel frequently enough to have
a passport. We are concerned that while the
province plans to begin issuing EDLs in winter
2009, it may not have completed its due diligence
with the USG. Post will ask that DHS review its
contacts to see whether further consultation is
needed in advance of the start of issuance of
the new Ontario documents.


© Scoop Media

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