Update: EDLs in Saskatchewan and Quebec

200903161147.jpgAs I noted a few days ago, the Saskatchewan government is debating whether or not they want to implement EDLs given the privacy and financial risks that accompany the licenses. It seems as though the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is supporting this hesitancy, with the assistant privacy commissioner;

. . . is applauding the province’s decision to back away from the enhanced licences until legislation addresses concerns about how personal information is used and how vulnerable it is to hackers.

“It’s highly significant,” Bernier said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “The province seems to come to the conclusion … that the cost-benefit analysis is not convincing.” (Source)

It will be interesting to see whether or not Saskatchewan reintroduces EDL legislation after Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner manages to implement an ‘on/off’ switch that she has been talking about with Jesse Brown for the past few weeks. My suspicion is that they will, but that they will let Ontario do the heavy lifting in this area (I expect that Ontario’s influence with DHS will be more substantial than Saskatchewan, but maybe that isn’t/won’t be the case).

In Quebec, Jean Charest will be announcing (today) that Quebecers will soon be able to get EDLs to cross Canadian/American borders. Privacy advocates there have noted that this issue is entirely passing ‘under the radar’ – somewhat depressingly, Ligue des droits et libertes is suggesting that what occurred in Ontario and other provinces constituted a ‘debate’. If Quebec didn’t even have that minor of a conversation, I would say that it’s not that EDLs are ‘passing under the radar’ so much as ‘the public is being kept entirely oblivious to all this’. Of course, this is an advocacy group talking, and I haven’t been involved in the French discourse surrounding (or not, as the case may be) EDLs, limiting my ability to substantiate Lique’s comments.