Ontario Has A New Driver’s License Card? No More Magnetic Stripe!
After I moved a couple of months back I completely forgot for about 6 weeks to get my address on my license changed. Thankfully, in Ontario you can simply do the whole process online and just wait for your new card to arrive in the mail. (If you couldn’t, I likely would still be procrastinating getting it done.) My updated address license card arrived yesterday and when I opened the envelope from Kingston I looked at the card as a matter of habit when I noticed something different about it…it was missing the magnetic stripe.
(I have no idea what is contained in these two codes that remain on the Ontario Driver’s License but I assume it is just the information that is already on the license. I downsized the picture to make the codes unreadable…I hope successfully.)
What the….? Why no more magnetic stripe? My last license card (the one you see above) was issued in early 2010 when a previous card meant an untimely demise. Pretty much everything else about the ‘new’ license is exactly the same except for the changing of the coloring of the letters where it says “9 CLASS/CATEGORIE” and “12 RESTRICTIONS/CONDITIONS.” The old license has them in blue while on the new license (seen below) the lettering is black.
There is still the same 2 letters followed by 7 numbers as the code of your license (no clue what it means but I do know the two license have two different codes). In case you are wondering, no, my new license is not one of the new enhanced security licenses that can be used to cross the border by land into the USA. It is a plain license which they just have upgraded…or maybe simplified? Maybe the magnetic stripes were getting demagnetized too easily so they decided to just stick with the UPC barcode (I think that’s what that top one is) and the PDF417 (thanks for helping me identify it Wikipedia!)
According to the AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators) website here, the update to the Ontario licenses was introduced in April of 2011 and it is expected that all Ontario licenses with magnetic stripes will be out of circulation by 2018. By 2014 all license cards in Ontario without the “20 barcode” will be out of circulation. If you’re wondering which of the two barcodes still on the license is this “20 barcode” I can’t help you because so am I. The 20 barcode is, according to the AAMVA in the link above, more secure and meets their standards. Unfortunately, in my research I was unable to find out what a “20 barcode” actually is. I am guessing it is the one I called PDF417 because I think I remember old Ontario licenses having the UPC looking one.
If you know the answer to what the mysterious “20 barcode” is, please let me know!
What do you think of the loss of the magnetic stripe? Do you even care? I don’t personally and I think the whole thing just looks cleaner now. As well, it is probably easier and more reliable to scan these than it was to swipe the magnetic stripe.
Do you have one of these licenses yet? Still using the really old one that predates both of these? I know I still have my old white and red OHIP card and I’m not getting a new, green one until they force me to! (If you’re from Ontario you know what I am talking about.)