On Canadian docks, workers to carry new IDs

Canada will begin issuing mandatory identification cards to port workers and truck drivers at three Canadian ports in December, a Transport Canada official announced.

The security cards are being issued under the $115 million Marine Transportation Security Clearance program meant to protect against terrorist threats. The workers will be vetted through background checks before receiving the cards.

In Phase I, the cards will be issued to workers in ports in Montreal; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Vancouver, British Columbia; Fraser River and North Fraser River, British Columbia; and the control centers of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., by Dec. 15, 2007, said Laureen Kinney, director general of maritime security.

In Phase II, workers will receive cards by December 2008 in Prince Rupert, British Columbia; Victoria, British Columbia; Windsor, Ontario; Toronto; Hamilton, Ontario; Quebec; Saint John, New Brunswick; St. John's, Newfoundland; and Labrador.

Under guidance issued in March regarding the format of the ID cards, the cards ideally should be interoperable "smart cards" that use biometric templates rather than store raw biometric data on the card. The cards may have biometric templates embedded into them, they may be used within a system of validation and verification, and they may be used with a secondary, unspecified identification process, the guidance document states.

Also announced under Canada's maritime security plans is the addition of a third Maritime Security Operations Center in the Niagara region to coordinate emergency operations information sharing in the area. Two other maritime security operations centers are operating on the East and West coasts, Kinney said.

In addition, three maritime intelligence teams are being deployed to coordinate anti-terrorism intelligence in the Halifax, Montreal and Vancouver ports.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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