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For Immediate Release


Jan. 21, 2008

Office of the Premier

Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat

Public Safety Canada




VANCOUVER – Canada’s first enhanced driver’s licences (EDLs) will be available in British Columbia for use by eligible B.C. residents driving to the United States, Premier Gordon Campbell and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced today. EDLs are proposed as an alternative to the passport that will be required to enter the United States at its land and water borders no earlier than June 2009. 


“The enhanced driver’s licence is a new, voluntary option for drivers that allows for more convenient travel to the United States,” said Premier Campbell. “Since 2006, British Columbia has worked with the Government of Canada and Washington state to develop an enhanced driver’s licence that will meet the new U.S. requirements at the border. This new licence will encourage closer social ties with our U.S. neighbours and support economic growth on both sides of the border. I congratulate Washington Governor Chris Gregoire for her persistent and hard work with me in reaching this step.”


“We have worked hard with the U.S. government to ensure that legitimate trade and travel across our borders are not disrupted as a result of the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI),” said Minister Day. “We are encouraged to see that our efforts are leading to recognition that enhanced driver’s licences can serve as an acceptable alternative to passports to enter the United Stats at its land and sea borders.”


“We have strong social and economic ties with British Columbia; it is our number one trading partner,” Washington Governor Chris Gregoire said. “We wanted to find a way to boost security at our border without hampering trade and tourism. This is particularly important with both the 2009 World Police and Fire Fighter Games and the 2010 Winter Olympics in British Columbia fast approaching. I commend Premier Gordon Campbell and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day for collaborating with us in Washington to ensure we maintain our strong relations.”


The B.C. EDL program will begin as an initial phase in which 500 EDLs will be offered at designated Driver Services Centres in Richmond and Cloverdale. Eligible participants must be Canadian citizens, born in British Columbia, and hold a valid B.C. birth certificate and a valid B.C. driver’s licence. 


This initial phase will allow the governments of Canada and British Columbia to test the effectiveness of the program and, based on the results, the program could be extended to all Canadian citizens residing in British Columbia.


The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) is now accepting volunteers. For information about eligibility, the B.C. EDL Participant Guide is available online at, or by calling 1-866-296-6054. Appointments must be booked in advance.


The WHTI is a U.S. law, now in effect for air travel, that will require all travellers, including U.S. and Canadian citizens, to present a valid passport or other secure document when travelling to the United States from within the western hemisphere. Alternate documents to a passport include NEXUS and FAST cards.




More information about the U.S. Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative is available on the Canada Border Services Agency’s website at


This news release is available online at and



 1 backgrounder(s) attached.





Dale Steeves

Director of Communications

Office of the Premier

250 387-6605


Mélisa Leclerc

Director of Communications

Office of the Honourable Stockwell Day Minister of Public Safety

613 991-2863



Doug Henderson

Insurance Corporation of B.C.

604 982-1332

604 786-2579


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