The new BC Services Card combines British Columbia’s CareCard with its drivers’ license.
The cards contain a photograph and an expiry date to ensure the proper holder of the card is the one who is using it. The card also has a chip, which will eventually allow users to access services by entering a PIN, once the second phase of the program is rolled out.
“This new card will be a secure piece of photo identification with many anti-fraud and security features,” said Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid when the card was released on Feb. 15.
Most adults will need to re-enrol in the medical services plan over the next five years, according to the Ministry of Health. The easiest way for British Columbians to enrol is to do so when renewing their driver's licence and opt for the combined card that includes both a driver's licence and BC Services Card. People who do not drive can still enrol at the nearest location where driver's licences are issued.
Once a person enrols, they will be mailed a new BC Services Card and will need to re-enrol and get a new card every five years. Children and certain groups of adults, such as the elderly or those in residential care or extended hospital care — for whom renewed enrolment would be impractical or present a hardship — will be exempt from re-enrolling or managed through special arrangements, the province said.
The original CareCards were first issued in 1989 and needed updating to include these new security features, MacDiarmid said.
"We have been engaging with the information and privacy commissioner on this program for more than two years and I am pleased that she agrees from a privacy and security point of view we are ready to offer the BC Services Card to citizens," said Minister of Citizens' Services and Open Government Ben Stewart.
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