13 november 2012

“No photo ID, no new health card”, 96-year-old told


CBC News

Elizabeth Stead, a 96-year-old woman from Ottawa, would like to have her Ontario health card renewed, but can’t, because she doesn't have proper documentation. She does have a marriage licence, citizenship papers and an expired passport, but they aren't acceptable identification.

The problem is that in order to renew the card, which must be shown for every medical procedure covered by universal healthcare, she has to have a photo ID. And in order to get a photo ID, she needs to have another photo ID.

Stead’s only photo identification is her passport, which expired in 1992. And she has no driver's licence either, because stopped driving in the 1950s.

"I’ve not done anything wrong … I’ve never heard of anybody going through this before", says Stead.

Her son Richard, a former bureaucrat responsible for designing government systems for acquiring documentation, such as permits, licences and health cards, said he does not understand the hassle either.

"I think they need to apply a test of reasonableness. We have lots of proof of who my mother is, we have lots of documents. Any reasonable person would look at that and say, 'What’s the problem?'" … I would’ve been ashamed if I ever designed a system that treated elderly people the way that my mother’s being treated", he said.

Elizabeth Stead hopes her Member of Parliament (MPP), Bob Chiarelli, can find a solution.

"I think he should help me to get out of this jam that I seem to be in right now. I just want to live here the rest of my life and I just need my health card," she said.

In an email David Salter, a spokesman for Chiarelli, said: "It's clear that [Mrs. Stead] needs and has a right to a new card. Mr. Chiarelli is aware of this case and has instructed his staff to resolve it as soon as possible ... we'll continue to work diligently to assist Richard and his mother."

Gilda Salomone, with files from the CBC.


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