Travelling south of the border from Vancouver for a daylong shopping trip or to catch a Seahawks game could soon get easier.
Yesterday Premier Gordon Campbell and federal Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day announced a pilot project giving people a high-tech driver’s licence to be used in lieu of a passport at border crossings.
In the first phase of the program, ICBC will issue cards to 500 volunteers from Cloverdale and Richmond who are B.C.-born Canadian citizens with a valid birth certificate.
“This licence will be a new option allowing drivers more convenient and spontaneous travel to the United States,” said Campbell.
The enhanced driver’s licence (EDL) will serve as both government-issued photo identification and proof of citizenship at land and water border crossings.
The cards will look like current B.C. licences but will be embedded with a microchip that border guards scan to instantly access the holder’s identification.
Day said the project addresses American security concerns while alleviating worries that America’s new passport law, which by June will require travellers provide a passport at border crossings, will hamper routine trade.
Limiting the number of cards will let the authorities test the effectiveness of the program and gather feedback from participants.