Many individuals in remote communities, particularly in Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) communities, lack birth certificates, creating barriers to accessing essential government services. Based on available data from 10 communities, an estimated 1,939 individuals in NAN communities are without birth certificates, and 1,250 individuals lack health cards. These figures likely underestimate the actual number of individuals without appropriate identification.
Obtaining a birth certificate can be costly, and the expenses associated with travel further deter individuals from applying for these documents. Remote communities face additional challenges as services and administrative support for obtaining ID are often located outside the community, and online access is limited. Efforts to address this issue could be modelled after the Ministry of Transportation’s approach of delivering services to remote communities, such as driver examination services. It is essential to bridge the ID gap to ensure equitable access to government programs and services. Further data collection is needed to fully understand the extent of the ID shortfall, including delayed birth registrations.
By enabling individuals to obtain birth certificates and health cards, we can promote inclusivity and equal opportunities for all community members.