There was a good news story in the Globe and Mail on Christmas Eve involving an 81-year-old grandmother who was to fly home to Calgary that day but her wallet with all her identification was stolen.
Boarding a plane in Canada, or in any country now, requires a government-issued picture identification. Beginning in late January, a passport or two pieces of government-issued identification will be required to cross the U.S. border.
One must be with a photo and the other must show citizenship.
In today’s world of security, the loss of health cards and driver’s licences greatly reduces one’s freedom to travel or access health care.
The grandmother heading home to Calgary for Christmas now lacks all her identification. And given the holiday season, obtaining a replacement birth certificate, a driver’s licence, or health card would take several weeks to happen.
Something similar happened to my wife almost a decade ago in Toronto. Her purse was stolen, along with all her identification and credit cards.
You just can’t re-establish your identity quickly. The banks were quickest to respond with new credit cards, but it took six weeks to receive her birth certificate and almost two months for a health card.
Friends provided my wife with money to purchase a new airline ticket. At that time, you didn’t need identification to board a flight. Nowadays, she would be forced to take a bus from Toronto without any identification.
Luckily for that grandmother, Simcoe North MP Bruce Stanton came to her rescue and was able to persuade WestJet officials to allow her to board an aircraft without identification to fly home to enjoy Christmas with her family.
Christmas brings out the best in people, and the assistance afforded to that elderly grandmother by the MP and WestJet is to be commended.
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