Strict requirements for Yukon licences

The Yukon's motor vehicles branch is getting a little crazy with its identification requirements. The Yukon government requires drivers to present at least four pieces of ID to upgrade to a secure driver's licence.

The Yukon’s motor vehicles branch is getting a little crazy with its identification requirements.

The Yukon government requires drivers to present at least four pieces of ID to upgrade to a secure driver’s licence.

In other jurisdictions, like BC, the standard is two pieces of ID.

Same goes for a Canadian passport.

“A federal passport that is issued to a Canadian who wants to travel abroad is as secure and as safe as a driver’s licence,” said Chris Geshev who recently went through the process of upgrading to the new card.

“The passport is the ultimate piece of ID that you can get and has as many safety features, if not more – yet they only require two pieces of ID.”

A pamphlet explaining the identification required by the Yukon is mailed out with each renewal notification, three months in advance of a licence’s expiration date.

For whatever reason, Geshev didn’t receive this pamphlet and was sent home to scrounge up more ID.

“If we want to produce a secure driver’s licence that will be accepted for a variety of different reasons, besides just driving a car, then that’s the price we have to pay,” said motor vehicles manager Walter Brennan.

The government needs to check five elements to make sure you are who you say you are.

Those are your date of birth, legal name, photo, signature and proof of legal presence in Canada.

The old licence alone doesn’t cover it.

And neither does a passport.

“One of the problems we have with the Canadian passport is that even though you may use your birth certificate to get your passport, you are not required to put your full legal name on your passport,” said Brennan.

“They ask for what name you want on it.”

Your friends in foreign countries may have no problem calling you Wally Brennan, but in the motor vehicles office you’re a Walter.

The Canadian Driver’s Licence Agreement states that a full name must be given, said Brennan.

If the Canadian passport is not in your legal name, you can’t use it.

And that includes the middle name. No middle initials allowed.

Motor vehicles recommends that Yukoners bring two pieces of ID to cover all this – the old driver’s licence and a birth certificate. Plus documentation, like a marriage certificate, if you’ve changed your name.

But it doesn’t stop there. Motor vehicles also wants to ensure that you are actually a Yukon resident.

So, in addition to your birth certificate and old licence, you need two documents that say you live in the Yukon.

One of these is a Yukon health-care card, said Brennan.

“But because there are quite a few people out there who don’t live in the Yukon, but still possess a Yukon health-care card, we’re asking for something else.”

As an extra precaution, motor vehicles would like to see a utility bill, phone bill, an old tax statement or a letter from your employer – anything official that contains your name and address.

“Or it could be a copy of the rental agreement, or a letter from the landlord,” said Brennan.

“We will try to work with them to give them an opportunity to show us that they live in the territory.”

The Yukon began issuing the new driver’s licence in November 2010.

One of the reasons for the switch was the many complaints that were being lodged against the old laminated version.

Outside, it can be difficult to rent a car with the old card.

And technically the licence alone can no longer be used as ID for flights within Canada because, as of November 2010, your ID is required to include your gender.

Yukoners with the old genderless card can still get away with this, however, by also showing their health card.

As of Tuesday morning, 8,009 new licences have been issued, along with 438 general identification cards, which have the same requirements.

There are about 25,000 licensed drivers in the territory.

Drivers don’t have to get a new licence until the old one expires, so the Yukon probably won’t have a complete turnover for another four years.

Even with all the extra precautions, there may still be some people who “slip under the wire,” said Brennan.

“But we have to put some trust in people.”

Contact Chris Oke at

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