The new BC Services Card is now here

As of Friday, Feb. 15 B.C. residents can replace their old CareCard with the new BC Services Card.

British Columbians are starting to say goodbye to the CareCard. As of Friday, Feb. 15, B.C. residents can replace their old CareCard with the new BC Services Card, which can act like a driver’s licence and a CareCard.

“This new card will be a secure piece of photo identification with many anti-fraud and security features, including secure design, an expiry date and enhanced features which will help to protect citizens’ personal information,” Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid says in a press release.

Over the next five years, eligible British Columbians between the ages of 19 and 74 will be required to replace their CareCard with the new BC Services Card by renewing their enrolment in the Medical Services Plan. The card can also be combined with a driver’s licence and will act as photo ID, but you are not required to combine the two cards. The BC Services Card can be used as identification anywhere you currently present government-issued ID. It can also be used just like a CareCard to access health care services. Eventually, eligible B.C. residents can use it to access other provincial government services, according to the government.

The provincial government is reassuring people that while you may use the card to access different services, your privacy is still protected. For example, a health care provider will not be able to see your driving record, while a police officer or ICBC employee will not have access to your health records.

Most adults will need to re-enrol in the Medical Services Plan over the next five years, and, according to the government’s news release, the easiest way to enrol is to do so when renewing your driver’s licence and to opt for the combined card that includes both a driver’s licence and BC Services Card. People who do not drive can still enrol at the nearest location where driver’s licences are issued.

The current CareCard was introduced in 1989 and has not been significantly updated in the last 20 years.

— The Chronicle