Canadian government officials are looking for a way to manufacture a new Native identity card to stem the rampant fraud non-natives commit when they use illegal cards to access benefits like health care and tax-free purchases usually reserved for status First Nations.
Fraud and misuse of Indian status cards have been costing taxpayers an estimated $33 million a year, according to Indian Affairs.
The bill to fix the problem, however, won’t come cheap. Indian and Northern Affairs estimates it will cost $30 million over five years to come up with a new high-tech, counterfeit-proof native identification to replace the roughly 763,000 cards now in use.
INAC released a statement saying they are aware that the 1960s technology is an easy target for fraudulent activity and has been used by non-natives since the mid-1990s.
The Assembly of First Nations backs a new card that will allow for freer passage to the United States.
The AFN also said that the new status cards should meet the requirements the United States is imposing for entry into the country. That could negate the need for Native people to use a passport at land border crossings, which will be mandatory for Canadians after Jan. 1, 2008.