Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, a new identifier on Ontario driver's licences and photo cards will make it easier to identify when someone is of legal age when buying alcohol or tobacco, said the province in a news release.
The new identifier clearly shows when card holders turn 19, because it will read “age 19” followed by the exact date the card holder turns 19, all in bold letters. It will be located near the bottom of the card, beside the date of birth.
Only driver's licences and photo cards issued on or after Jan. 1, 2013 will have the new identifier. About 150,000 cards are issued each year to drivers under the age of 19. Driver's licence cards in all Canadian provinces except Quebec include an age identifier.
“Our government has heard from the retail sector and public health units across Ontario,” said Minister of Transportation Bob Chiarelli. “We’ve taken action to keep youth in Ontario safe by including the date a person is 19 years of age on Ontario’s driver’s licence and photo cards.”
Drivers under 19 years of age who are drinking are two times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision compared to older drivers.
“Injury and substance abuse prevention are key priorities for the public health system in Ontario,” said Dr. Arlene King, Chief Medical Officer of Health. “This initiative will help keep Ontario’s youth healthy and safe.”