NWT introduces new security measures to combat fraudulent IDs

Facial recognition technology and enhanced security features for identification cards and drivers’ licences are coming to the territory this fall.

Starting on September 1, ID cards will feature cosmetic upgrades and new security features to help protect the privacy of residents and crack down on fraudulent IDs.

The territory will then introduce facial recognition technology in November, designed to protect residents from identity theft and prevent people “from getting several licences or ID cards in multiple jurisdictions,” according to a news release.


Current licences remain valid until their expiry date or extended expiry date due to Covid-19.

If NWT residents want to prematurely upgrade their old licence, it will cost $31.

Facial recognition being rolled out

November will be the first time the GNWT will use facial recognition, which can decipher minor details on photos to guard against fraudulent IDs, said Kevin Dunbar, director of the territory’s compliance and licensing division.

Software will compile and cross-reference ID photos across Canada to ensure no one has more than one driver’s licence, driving record, or general identification card.

“Facial recognition is going to help with personal identity theft and keeping everyone’s identity safe,” said Dunbar.


Personal information collected is subject to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Motor Vehicle Act, and will only be used internally, the GNWT said.

Dunbar noted the technology has been in place in other jurisdictions for some time.

New design for licences, IDs

Dunbar also unveiled a new design for drivers’ licences and general ID cards. 

“These will be harder to replicate [and] alter, which again better protects residents’ personal information,” Dunbar said.


Drivers’ licences and general ID cards will have raised fields which feel different to the touch, as well as three clear security windows.

There is invisible ink on the front of new cards which shows up under ultraviolet light.  

The cards will feature new designs that embody the North. Those include the addition of a diamond, Arctic Grayling, a fox, Mountain Aven, the midnight sun, and fireweed.

Dunbar said the GNWT could not yet incorporate Indigenous languages on the licences, “just for the simple fact that other jurisdictions across the country may not know how to decipher the information.”

New temporary IDs

Temporary general ID cards will be made available in November, so people who enter a DMV office can leave with a document that includes photo identification.

This will fill the gap while residents await their official card in the mail.