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Yukon's shoddy IDs confuse cops, bar staff

Yukon's bar owners, RCMP and liquor inspectors can't tell a legitimate territorial driver's licence from a fake. It's hardly their fault.

Subhead"How are we to judge if something is

legitimate if the real ID’s look fake?”/Subhead

BodyBy John Thompson

News Reporter

Yukon’s bar owners, RCMP and liquor inspectors can’t tell a legitimate territorial driver’s licence from a fake.

It’s hardly their fault. A Yukon driver’s licence looks like it has been assembled by a 15-year-old with a home laminating kit.

This causes no shortage of frustration for Yukoners travelling out of territory, who must persuade skeptical authorities their driver licence is authentic.

But it’s also causing a headache for local patrons and bar-owners, according to an e-mail written by a Yukon liquor inspector, leaked to the Yukon Liberals.

Two weeks ago, a young Whitehorse bar patron had his licence confiscated by the bouncer, who was convinced the ID was a fake.

A fist-fight nearly ensued.

“The patron supplied a Yukon driver’s licence, which had numerous signs of being faked. Different colour papers, flimsy lamination, a bubble in the middle of the lamination and blurred font,” the inspector’s e-mail reads.

“(The bouncer) seized the ID from the patron on the grounds that it was a fake ID.

“They called the RCMP. When they arrived, they showed the RCMP the ID and compared it to three other legitimate IDs. Even the RCMP agreed it looked like a fake.

“However, when they called it in they discovered it was a legitimate ID. (The officer) informed me this has happened many times before and that he has even had conversations with Motor Vehicles about the issue.

“His complaint to me was, ‘How are we to judge if something is legitimate if the real IDs look fake?’”

In April of 2007, Jim Kenyon, the minister responsible for driver’s licences, said that Yukon’s IDs are “something that we obviously have to address.”

He’s since promised to introduce new licences. But there’s still no sign of when new IDs will be rolled out.

“We have no information on the new system at this time, but will follow up on this,” states one government reply to the liquor inspector’s complaint.

“I have no further information on the new Yukon ID, but we can advise licencees and their staff that they can ask for more than one piece of ID to confirm if the photo ID presented is legitimate,” reads another response.

“The government has been aware of this situation for some time and is refusing to take action,” Don Inverarity, Liberal MLA for Porter Creek South, said in a news release.

The licence does not meet security standards laid out in the Canadian Driver Licence Agreement, according to information Inverarity ferreted out through an Access to Information request.

The driver licence agreement was drafted by all jurisdictions through a body known as the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators. The council’s mandate is to ensure the safe, efficient movement of people and goods along roads, and was set up in 1940 by the four western provinces. The Yukon joined in the early ‘50s, becoming the fifth Canadian member. The council now represents the whole country.

“Failure by the Yukon to produce a new secure driver’s licence may result in denial of reciprocity from other provinces, territories and US states,” according to the documents Inverarity received,” states the document obtained by Inverarity.

“This may have detrimental affects outside the Yukon on Yukoners’ ability to operate motor vehicles, rent vehicles or board airplanes for dom estic flights.”

“Yukoners are constantly wondering whether their licence will be accepted as identification or allow them to rent a car. Why the delay?” Inverarity said in a press release.

Contact John Thompson at