The truth about Ontario drivers past 80 years of age
One e-mail is happenstance, two is a coincidence, and three or more is a trend. When frivolous nonsense is offered up as fact, truth is usually the best hammer to squash a rumour. Let’s get the truth out on older drivers in Ontario.
A few people have sent me (or referred to) an e-mail about something called a “Simard Test” administered to older drivers. If you get such an e-mail, hit the Delete button. It is irresponsible nonsense, and flat-out false. As I have responded to the people who have asked me, “Was this nonsense started by the same people who occasionally wrote to federal MPs saying they’ve heard Canada Post will (somehow) tax e-mails?” It’s all rubbish.
Ontario drivers age 80 and over need to renew their driver’s licence every two years, just like everybody else. After age 80, drivers need to take a vision test to check their eyesight, and pass a written test to refresh their knowledge of the rules of the road. This has long been the case in Ontario. Depending on these two tests, a driver may also need to take a road test. Once that’s done, you visit the ServiceOntario centre, and you can get your license renewed. There is a ServiceOntario outlet on Mississauga Road near Alpha Mills.
Instead of rumours on e-mail chain letters, it is better to get accurate information right from the source: the Ministry of Transportation and ServiceOntario. For information about renewing a driver’s license for a person past age 80, click here.
Ontario Photo Card
In recent years, Ontario has responded to a strong need, expressed in many cases by seniors who no longer wish to drive, for an official, government-issued ID card that is not a driver’s license. In essence, seniors who cannot, or don’t want to drive any more still need a valid form of ID to board an aircraft, open a bank account and so on. For the past three years, you can get the Ontario Photo Card, which is government-issued ID. This means that you don’t need to renew your driver’s license if you no longer wish to drive (or can’t) just to have an ID card. A person can have either a driver’s license, or an Ontario Photo Card, but not both. Click here to find out about the Ontario Photo Card.
E-Mail Reminder from ServiceOntario
One handy new feature with ServiceOntario is being able to sign up for e-mail reminders when something is due to expire. I would suggest that. Click here.
Seniors with invalid identification and Ontario Health Cards
As I visited with seniors during the summer, I became aware of how pervasive an issue invalid ID is. It is surprising how many seniors are carrying a driver’s license that has expired, often showing an address they no longer live at. As I tell seniors everywhere I go, invalid or expired ID is worse than useless, because you think you have something valid when you don’t, and it will bite you at the moment you actually need it.
People need valid ID at any age, though it seems that invalid ID because renewal dates have slipped is a much more pervasive problem among the elderly. As well, the old red-and-white health card will be updated province-wide in the coming months. Click here for more info. Just as you’d expect your bank to keep your credit and debit cards updated with the latest technology, the same will be done with your health care card. The Province wants all eligible Ontarians to be covered, and be able to use the health care system, but only eligible Ontario residents.