BYID card (LCBO) versus the Photo Card (Ontario) – Which is the Best to Have?


After comparing the two types of identification, with all the positives and negatives – the better identification is the BYID card.

The only drawback to the BYID card is that the LCBO will only issue it to adults between the ages of 19 – 35.  The Photo Card will be issued to anyone that is 16-years-old  or older,  that do not hold a valid driver’s licence.

See the differences between the cards below:


BYID Card (from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) ):

You can receive and use the BYID card, which is valid for sixteen (16) years for the price of $30.00.

The Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) introduced a BYID card in 1996, redesigned it in 1999 and again in 2004, it is issued to those 19 years of age to 35 years old.

The most updated card, used by men and women to prove their ages, now have a magnetic strip on the back of the card.  The LCBO has issued more than 55,000 BYID cards to date.  These cards are also accepted as a form of government photo identification, which reflects the bearer of the card and their date of birth.  This BYID card is even accepted by banks to open bank accounts as formal identification.

The BYID has gone up in price since it was first introduced onto the market fifteen (15) years ago and now costs thirty ($30) dollars.  The BYID card has no expiry date – but the LCBO will not issue a card to anyone 36 years old.  If you apply for a card at the age of 19, the card can continue to use the BYID card until the cardholder reaches 35 years of age (age 19 to age 35 = 16 years).

The application is easy, you can download it online or call the LCBO and ask them to send you a copy of the application.  You fill out the application and send it in – you don’t have to attend an LCBO office to apply for the BYID card. Once the LCBO receives the completed application it is mailed to you in under four (4) weeks.


Ontario Photo Card (from the Ontario Provincial Government):

The Ontario Photo Card is costly, $35 for five (5) years.  If you renewed this card every five (5) years for 16 years, at the current fee of $35.00, would cost the card carrier One Hundred and Forty Dollars ($140.00).

Effective July 25, 2011 the Province of Ontario finally introduced the Ontario Photo Card.

This type of identification already existed in all of the other provinces, save and except Quebec.  Although Ontario was the second last Province to introduce this identification and was slow to finally make this available, they only made it available at 21 ServiceOntario locations across the Province and only two locations in Toronto.

The Province promised to make applying for the card easier in 2012, by having it available at all ServiceOntario locations by that time during working hours.

The Province promised that anyone 16 years of age or older (that do not possess a driver’s licence) could apply for this secure official government identification and that having it, could help them open up a bank account, make travel arrangements and perform other activities that would normally require government issued identification.

This identification is only valid for five (5) years. The cost for this identification is $35.00 for five (5) years.

The application is not easy – it must be done in person and you cannot mail it in.  You have to supply tons and tons of identification to receive it (including report cards for those still in school).  If the ServiceOntario clerk that serves you makes a mistake (and it happens, as it did to a relative) then you have to go back to the ServiceOntario location and reapply – they will not make the necessary correction to the PhotoCard.  Upon applying for the Photo Card, make sure you bring all of your identification and your report card (with your residential address) and review the yellow sheet they provide to you upon the completion.  Look at the yellow sheet for the spelling of the first, middle and last name, the date of birth, the height, the residential address and the sex of the applicant.  The clerk will take all of your identification and photocopy it and send it to Kingston, Ontario – but will not be able to access it if they make a mistake to amend the Photo Card, like the female clerk did at the ServiceOntario location at Lakeshore Rd East/Leslie Street location (found on the second floor of the Canadian Tire).

Upon completion, you will have to wait four (4) to six (6) weeks to receive your card.  It there is any mistakes on the card, you will have to reapply again, have your photo taken again and sign it again and wait for another 6 weeks for a Photo Card which contains the correct information.  The process will be repeated five (5) years later.  The only time you will not have to do this, is if you receive your Provincial Driver’s licence – in which case you will not be allowed to possess a Photo Card.

The application for the Photo Card can be obtained online.

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