Over the last few months, the CNIB Foundation has been asking the Ontario government to ensure Ontarians who are blind, partially sighted or Deafblind have equal access to renewing their health card online. As it stands, a person needs a valid Ontario driver's licence, which is unacceptable because it prevents Ontarians with sight loss from using the same process.
At the end of March, we received a response from Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. In her letter, Minister Thompson states:
"Renewing the Ontario health card online has been a government pilot project, and currently, Ontarians need a driver’s licence to renew their health card online. But we realize this approach does not work for everyone.
I have shared your email with the ministry staff who are considering how we can provide better online government services. I would like to assure you that Service Ontario intends to improve the online health card renewal service, adding functions that make it easier for more people to use it, including those without driver’s licences. We appreciate and will carefully consider your suggestion that there be an option to use the Ontario Photo Card number for those who do not have a driver’s licence. Ministry staff would be happy to update you in the months ahead around planned timing for these changes."
In the letter, the Minister also mentions that she is open to further ideas and collaboration on how to make this process more accessible. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services, as well as the accessibility of Service Ontario services more broadly. Minister Thompson's letter also indicated that we will be receiving information from the Minister of Health, Christine Elliott, shortly – we will provide further information upon receipt.
Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. We will continue to advocate for accessible processes to create more inclusive communities.