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Poll: About 1 in 20 have let driver's licence or health card expire

Asked to check, about one in 20 of you said your driver's licence, health card or both had expired.

The end of paper reminders to renew health cards and driver's licences seems to have led to some Ontarians letting them lapse, data obtained under access-to-information laws shows. 

Average daily health card renewals are running at about 95 per cent of their pre-pandemic level, despite the province's population having grown by 7 per cent over that time

Ontario average monthly driver's licence renewals in 2022 and early 2023 were just under 97 per cent of what they were in 2019 before the pandemic. 

(Of these, an expired driver's licence is potentially the most serious, since it can make the insurance you're paying for invalid; there is also a potential fine. An expired health card can delay getting non-emergency health care.)

Other than calling it 'probably non-trivial,' it's hard to know the number of people in Ontario who are, for example, driving around with licences that have expired, unbeknownst to them. 

So this week we asked you to stop and have a look at your own ID, which 3,232 of you helpfully did: 


It's easier to read if we consolidate the results like this:

The 'one or the other or both has expired' responses are about 5 per cent. Based on the data we were working with, something closer to 10 per cent would have been believable, once we take population change into account. 

One thing to bear in mind, though, is that our reader polls skew strongly to an older-than-average demographic:

Breaking the data down by sex and education didn't give us much insight, but breaking it down by age does (bearing in mind that we're working with data from an online reader poll): 

The data is fuzzy and the tools imperfect, but within their limitations a rate more toward 10 per cent becomes plausible, once we adjust for age.

Bear in mind that people over 70 still get paper reminders, perhaps explaining some of what we're seeing.

Patrick Cain

About the Author: Patrick Cain

I'm an online writer and editor in Toronto, focused mostly on data, FOI, maps and visualizations. I've won some awards, been a beat reporter covering digital privacy and cannabis, and started an FOI case that ended in the Supreme Court. Twitter: @Cain
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