The provincial government recently announced that it would be redesigning the Ontario driver's licence in a move that many residents have deemed a pointless overhaul. However, the decision to introduce the new cards is not just because Doug Ford likes the colour blue. It's actually an important measure to combat fraud and identify theft, which is on the rise dramatically in Canada.
According to Ontario's Transportation Minister Jeff Yurek, the province is long overdue for new driver's licence cards. Yurek stated that the cards haven't been updated in over a decade, which more than doubles the industry standard time to replace them.
"Coming this fall, Ontario’s driver’s licence will have a new design, showcasing the province’s new brand and logo. This will come at no cost to the taxpayer. It has been 12 years since the last redesign, but they should be refreshed every 5-7 years for security purposes," Yurek stated in a tweet on Monday.
Yurek explained that while the cards may not look that different, a simple shift in colour scheme and the addition of Ontario's new logo will help upgrade security measures and prevent counterfeiters from thriving in the province. “We don’t want counterfeiters and identity thieves to know what we’ve changed in the product,” Yurek explained to Global.
According to a report by the Toronto Star, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre discovered that 9,657 Canadians had filed complaints about identity theft in 2018. Identify theft is the first step criminals take to steal your personal information and use it for their own benefit. Identity thieves often use driver's licenses to obtain their victims' personal information.
CPA Canada reports that Canadians lost $21.2 million to identity theft in 2018. In 2017, the total losses were only $11.7 million.
Despite Ontario's efforts to protect residents from fraud and identity theft, many continue to believe that redesigning the driver's license is not a priority, given the many other pressing issues that require the provincial government's attention right now.
The plan to redesign Ontario's driver's licence will be a part of a much larger initiative by Ford's government, which includes an overhaul of both the province's licence plates and the Ontario Trillium logo.