Terry Learn is fighting to get a driver’s license in a fly-in village with almost no roads.
Three weeks ago, Learn and his family moved to Old Crow from Norman Wells, Northwest Territories. He expected it would be easy enough to get his
driver’s license when he arrived in town.
But no one in Old Crow can issue him a photo license. He’s been told by the government he has to wait until he’s either in Dawson or Whitehorse to
get his license, two cities he doesn’t plan to travel to in the foreseeable future, he said.
“There’s no way I’m going to spend that kind of money to travel to Dawson or Whitehorse just to get my license,” said Learn explaining the family
didn’t pass through either town on their way from Norman Wells.
Learn isn’t particularly interested in driving per se, but he relies on the license as a form of identification, he said.
The Yukon’s motor vehicle branch has offered to give Learn a temporary license that he can renew every 120 days until he gets a proper license in
Whitehorse or Dawson. The temporary license is to be used in conjunction with his old Northwest Territories license.
But that seems like too much of a hassle for Learn, who says that a temporary license is “no good for ID purposes because there is no picture on it.”
In Norman Wells, also a remote community with a small population, the town was able to take people’s photos and issue drivers’ licenses, said
He doesn’t understand why the same thing couldn’t happen in Old Crow, particularly since the RCMP in Old Crow used to take the photos for driver’s
licenses, he said.
“I just think it’s silly,” said Learn, adding the council office could also easily take the photos for licenses.
Old Crow is too just too small to be able to offer those kinds of services, said Brenda Wale speaking on behalf of Community Services.
No government services – not just driver licenses – can be accessed in Old Crow, she added. Concessions are made to people living in rural
communities that aren’t large enough to house a government office, she said.
“The motor vehicle association makes every effort to help individuals in individual circumstances,” said Wale.
“We’ve provided an individual solution to (Learn) so that he has an option.
“I’m not sure how he is inconvenienced.”
Contact Vivian Belik at firstname.lastname@example.org