New ID cards go beyond health care

The replacement for B.C.'s CareCard will provide online access to medical records, and may also be used to confirm B.C. residence and age while keeping other information private.

Labour

The replacement for B.C.’s CareCard will provide online access to medical records, and may also be used to confirm B.C. residence and age while keeping other information private.

Health Minister Mike de Jong announced the new “smart card” plan in May, saying it will also offer the option of doubling as a driver’s licence. The government is phasing out the existing CareCard, mainly because there are 9.1 million cards in circulation and only 4.5 million residents eligible for the Medical Services Plan.

The new cards will have a photo and and an electronic chip, and be renewable every five years. Labour, Citizen Services and Open Government Minister Margaret MacDiarmid said the government hopes to start issuing them in 2012.

Amendments to the information and privacy law now before the legislature would allow secure online access by residents and authorized medical professionals, for prescriptions and lab tests. They may also be used to confirm student status or whether a resident is 19 or over, without releasing other personal information.