Skip to main content

Skip to navigation

The access keys for this page are:

Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat

B.C. Enhanced Driver's Licence

The new British Columbia Enhanced Driver’s Licence is a convenient document that allows B.C.-resident citizens to cross the border with a single piece of identification.

The enhanced driver’s licence was born in recognition that our border has changed and continues to change—and we can work together to ensure it changes for the better. B.C. has consistently called on Canada and the United States to work together for the security of our citizens and establish a border regime that is secure against high-risk traffic and smooth for low-risk travel and trade.

  • British Columbia and Washington and our partners in the Pacific Northwest Economic Region remain seriously concerned about the impact of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) requirements on cross-border trade and tourism.
  • About 30 per cent of overseas visitors to B.C. also travel to Washington and the Pacific Northwest when visiting B.C. Washington projects that up to 25 per cent of visitors to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver will travel through that state to B.C.
  • Current estimates suggest 73,000 additional travellers will cross from Washington to B.C. during the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games—approximately 5,000 people per day of the Games.
  • B.C. and the State of Washington led the way in finding effective, efficient solutions—working with the governments of Canada and the United States to establish a secure and convenient document that meets U.S. document requirements for land and water border crossings.

Phase 1 of the B.C. Enhanced Driver’s Licence program is now running—the first in Canada.

  • The Phase 1 program saw an overwhelming public response: 800 people applied for the 500 available cards in just over 48 hours; 520 people completed interviews and were approved.
  • These 520 cardholders are now using their Enhanced Driver’s Licences to cross the Canada-U.S. border, and their reports have been positive.
  • Washington State’s Phase I program is also now implemented—the first in the United States.

Phase II—a full Enhanced Driver’s Licence program available to all Canadian citizens resident in B.C.—is expected in spring 2009.

Enhanced Driver’s Licences are a key part of a better border strategy—one that is smart and secure, and open to legitimate travel and trade. The Enhanced Driver’s Licence is a reliable program that makes sense for citizens and makes sense for governments.

It is efficient for citizens to acquire, efficient to use…

  • carry it with you for spontaneous travel;
  • protect your identity—no need to carry your passport or other important documents;

And efficient for governments that want to improve border management—helping achieve smart, secure, effective borders that are open to legitimate travel and trade.

  • Meets WHTI requirements—gets drivers across the border with a single piece of ID;
  • Provides an additional option for travellers who want a document denoting identity and citizenship;
  • Uses RFID technology to identify cardholders at the border crossing – improving border management and document security.

We all have a stake in keeping borders secure yet open to travel and trade.

As Canada's Gateway to the Asia Pacific, British Columbia believes border traffic needs to be both efficient and secure to ensure continental trade and travel flow smoothly.

  • Canada and the U.S. share one of the world's largest and most comprehensive trading relationships, which supports millions of jobs in each country.
  • In 2006, Canada-U.S. bilateral trade in goods and services was $577 billion, with more than $1.6 billion worth of goods and services crossing the border every single day.
  • More than 1.3 million trucks cross the B.C.-U.S. border each year. The Highway 15 border crossing in B.C. handles 4,000 trucks a day. A recent survey of B.C. and Washington truckers estimates border crossing congestion costs operators almost $60 million a year.
  • In 2006, Washington saw more Canadian same-day and overnight trips than almost any other state (ranked 3rd) and Canadians spent $194 million in same-day travel in Washington (ranked 3rd among states). 94 per cent of Canadian travellers to Washington in 2006 came from British Columbia. Same-day trips comprise almost 70% of Canada’s automobile travel to Washington.