Yukon birth certificate born again, much bigger

Unless your wallet is the size of a novel, you won't be carrying your birth certificate in it any longer.

Unless your wallet is the size of a novel, you won’t be carrying your birth certificate in it any longer.

The 13-centimetre-by-18-centimetre plastic document, adopted by the Yukon government on Friday, is designed to discourage residents from keeping it in their purse or wallet.

This reduces the chances of theft or loss.

That’s one of the security features of the new, bigger birth certificate, “truly one of the most secure documents in the world,” according to the government’s website.

It also has clear maple leaves that become visible when you move the card, the word “Canada” is threaded into the document and colour-shifting printing – text that changes from purple to green depending on the direction of the light.

Third-level forensic features help determine the document’s validity, while the other features make it harder to forge, said Sylvia Kitching, registrar for vital statistics.

It also uses “rough-to-the-touch” tactile printing done on machinery that builds the text into the paper.

Some specific forensic features are not being revealed, but one uses black-light technology to read invisible information on the card.

The Yukon government’s site states many certificates are lost or stolen every month.

“The police have arrested people who have had significant numbers of documents, sometimes owned by hundreds of people at a time, in their possession. We know that there is a criminal element out there that very specifically is going after identification theft, from which they create different documents to use in the commission of fraud.”

However, the Canadian Anti-fraud Call Centre reported only seven identity theft victims in the territory in 2006.

Since the terrorist attacks in New York, Canada became more protective of citizens’ personal security.

“After September 2001, the provincial and territorial ministers responsible for vital statistics requested a security review of the current birth certificate documents,” according to the government’s website.

This is the first time the territorial birth certificate has been updated since 1983.

Residents don’t need to trade their old one for a new card, which still cost $10 even though the production is a few cents more.

The government is not stating how much the new birth certificate has cost Yukon because it varies with volume, said Kitching.

The base card is printed at the Canadian Bank Note Company in Ottawa and the information is printed onto the card in Whitehorse.

Yukon is the ninth jurisdiction to get an improved birth certificate after Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Contact Larissa Robyn Johnston at larissaj@yukon-news.com