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Renewing your ID online is a good thing. So of course Ontario will screw it up.

It’s no secret I’m a lasy S.O.B. None whatsoever. But see, I prefer the good, as in still productive, lazy–not the “I didn’t do what I needed to for 6 months because I didn’t want to” lazy. If you can do a thing without going significantly out of your way to do a thing, that’s my kind of lazy.

Take for example doing my taxes–which yeah, that’s coming up soon. Dammit. I could collect all the appropriate paperwork, sit down with the forms, and manually work it out for myself. I mean, I know people who do that. Those people are weird, but they exist and I know them. Alternatively I could put together that paperwork, trudge on over to H&R Block and pay them to do it–slightly less effort on my part, but 1: that’s still effort and 2: that would require I deal with H&R Block. Or, you know, I could use any one of the way too goddamned many tax platforms that are out there today, file my taxes from my living room in my pajamas and be freaking done with it. I pick that third option every time. That’s lazy, but that’s the good lazy. Getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently.

Ontario has a system in place now wherein, when renewing some of your ID (health card, mainly), you can do that from your living room in your pajamas (maybe don’t take your photo like that). Awesome. Getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently. I approve. But I live in Ontario, and in Ontario, we can’t have nice things. So a good system becomes a whole lot less useful than it could or should be because shut up.

You need to provide ID to renew your health card, obviously. This is true whether it’s online, by mail, in person, or by carrier pigeon (you may want to have a fallback method if doing so by carrier pigeon). Logical, makes sense, cool. But now here’s where it gets messed up. Not all ID is created equal, and Ontario’s government’s in… we’ll call it a wee bit of hot water for the proclamation.

The Doug Ford government is facing legal action over its policy for renewing Ontario health cards online.
The online service is available only to residents with a valid driver’s licence, a rule that disability advocates say discriminates against people who can’t drive or don’t have a licence.

“People who, like me, because of their disability, are absolutely disqualified from being able renew our health card online,” said David Lepofsky, a Toronto lawyer and chair of the Accessibility for Ontarians With Disabilities Act Alliance.

They went the disability route with this, because I mean that gets more attention, but this applies to anyone who doesn’t, either by choice or otherwise, drive. People living in Ottawa on purpose don’t own cars because–when our beloved transit system is doing what a transit system should–they don’t need to. So many around here haven’t bothered getting their license. And why? The Ontario photo ID is as valid as a driver’s license, and can be used in nearly the exact same way as a driver’s license. So if you’re not going to drive, and have no intention of even owning a car, and couldn’t be bothered getting tested to qualify for a thing you’ll never use, the photo card makes sense instead–except, apparently, when the government decides it doesn’t.

In person renewals are available, sure. And that’s a valid argument–in 2019. But here’s the thing. Even if we weren’t in the middle/coming up on the end of a pandemic, remember that whole thing I said earlier about good versus bad laziness? About getting shit done, but getting shit done efficiently? There’s nothing efficient, I don’t care who you are, about standing in line at freaking Service Ontario to get your shit renewed. I could be doing any number of other things that are not standing there with a bunch of other people who don’t freaking want to be there. But because I don’t drive (no, I’m not playing the “because I’m disabled” game), I get to go stand there with a bunch of people who’d rather be anywhere else. No thank you please.

In its statement the ministry spokesperson said the government is “taking steps” to allow the online renewal system to accept the Photo Card.

Guessing they end up losing this lawsuit before that happens. Come on, Ontario. This is not new. Get with it, will you?


3 responses to “Renewing your ID online is a good thing. So of course Ontario will screw it up.”

  1. The fact we can’t do this is absolute bullshit, but I will give the Service Ontario branch near my place some credit. They know how to run a damn line. Last time I was in there I arrived to a line stretching practically out the door. I figured there goes my morning, but they were hauling it and I was in and out of there in 15-20 minutes with a photo card and health card renewed, photos and all. The time before that I had an appointment but was out and back home before the thing was scheduled to start. They even helped me fill out the organ donation forms and stuff. But back to the point, these are stories I shouldn’t have to tell unless I want to, because I should not have to go there if everyone else doesn’t.

  2. Want to hear something really crazy? If you don’t need a new photo taken, you can renew your photo card online. Supposedly you only need a new photo every 10 years. The card expires in 5. So yeah, living room and pajamas for the next one is an option. Just not your health card.

  3. Well shit. That still means that unless something changes between now and next renewal I’m going in either way. My 5 year renewals for both cards are set so they match now. So much for being efficient.

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