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New fact sheet for Manitobans who are considering applying for MPI's Enhanced Identification Card

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Feb 2, 2009

In conjunction with today´s start up of Manitoba Public Insurance´s (MPI) new Enhanced Identification Card Program, the Manitoba Ombudsman has released a fact sheet for those who are considering applying for the card.

10 Points for Privacy Awareness identifies privacy issues associated with the Manitoba Enhanced Identification Card (EIC). The 10 Points reinforce privacy issues that the public should consider if they are thinking about applying for a Manitoba EIC and what they should do to protect their privacy if they choose to be a cardholder.

“We were pleased that, early in the development of the EIC Program, MPI and the Manitoba Government consulted with us on privacy issues,” said Ombudsman Irene Hamilton. “MPI and Government have heightened Manitobans´ awareness of privacy considerations in the Program and refined the collection and use of personal information. This has been a positive, cooperative experience,” said Hamilton.

Privacy issues are discussed in detail in the EIC Applicant´s Guide, available today online at and at MPI locations and Autopac broker offices. Hamilton stressed that anyone who is considering applying for a card should first take the time to read the Applicant´s Guide carefully.

Highlights in the Ombudsman´s 10 Points for Privacy Awareness include:

  • If you have a passport, you do not need a Manitoba EIC to cross the U.S. border.
  • Any new or additional collection of personal information and the handling of that information presents privacy risks.
  • To qualify for the Manitoba EIC, a person will have to provide MPI with documents containing personal information that MPI will scan into its system. Upon the person´s written consent, up to five provincial, national and international authorities will collect, use and retain some of the personal information scanned or inputted into the MPI system.
  • How personal information is collected, shared and protected is explained in the Manitoba EIC Applicant´s Guide. Before applying, a person should read the Guide and understand what personal information will be shared, with whom and why. The applicant should also fully understand and be comfortable with the documents that he or she will be asked to sign.
  • The U.S. requires that the Manitoba EIC contain Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology; the “passive” RFID chip used in the Manitoba EIC could, without protection, be read by an unintended RFID reader, allowing the movements of the EIC cardholder to be tracked.
  • The Manitoba EIC will come with a protective sleeve that will block the ability of an RFID reader to scan the EIC´s chip without the cardholder´s knowledge; if the cardholder does not use the protective sleeve, or the sleeve is damaged, the cardholder´s movements could potentially be tracked.
  • Once a traveller´s personal information is shared with U.S. authorities, the Manitoba Government and MPI have no control over how it may be stored, used and further shared. Information about Manitobans obtained by U.S. border crossing authorities (from any document(s) used to cross the border, including EICs and passports) is stored in the U.S. for 75 years and is not subject to protection from Manitoban or Canadian privacy protection laws.

If Manitobans have privacy questions about the EIC, they should contact MPI at (204) 985-7525. If they have privacy complaints about the process, they should contact Manitoba Ombudsman at (204) 982-9130 (in Winnipeg), or 1-800-665-0531 (toll free in Manitoba).