Thu. May 19th, 2022

TORONTO – A married couple in Ontario whose driver’s license expired during the pandemic said they were denied boarding a plane and were forced to miss a funeral.

“They just refused us and would not let us go,” Lynne Gilchrist of Caesarea, Ont. told CTV News Toronto.

Gilchrist and her husband Stuart planned to attend a family funeral in late August and had to fly to Edmonton, Alta.

They showed up at Toronto Pearson International Airport ready to board the plane and handed in their driver’s license for identification.

“We went to a car agent and she just threw our ID back at us and said ‘Expired and expired’. We both looked at each other and said ‘What?’ “

To curb the spread of COVID-19, Ontario extended the deadline to renew your driver’s license, health card, license plate sticker and other documents until February 28, 2022. And while it is acceptable to drive in Ontario with an expired driver’s license, it does not not that you can use it to get on a plane.

The province also does not send reminder letters during the pandemic, and that means some people could have expired identification in their wallet and not know it.


Gilchrists have both Canadian passports, which are required to fly outside of Canada, but they were not brought to the airport because they are generally not required for a domestic flight.

“We had no idea until we got to the airport that our ID had expired because Ontario had not sent messages due to the pandemic,” Gilchrist said.

The couple renewed their driver’s license and health card online while at the airport, but the airline said the format was unacceptable and that they were not allowed to fly.

When CTV News Toronto contacted the Department of Transportation, a spokesman said “We are saddened to hear about this person’s experience and express our condolences during this difficult time.”

In a statement, the spokesman added “Ontario has extended the deadlines for renewal of most drivers and vehicle products, including driver’s licenses and license plate stickers, by an expiration date of March 1, 2020 or later. Extended products remain valid until February 28, 2022, and these extensions have been communicated to our North American transportation and law enforcement partners. “

“Although we have notified the extensions, the Department of Transportation cannot comment on how the validity of Ontario driver and vehicle products is treated under the laws of other jurisdictions outside of Ontario or by business organizations. Notices are sent by mail to persons who will need to renew their driving license or license plate sticker before the extension of the extension period on 28 February 2022. “

“If you are traveling outside of Ontario, we encourage you to renew your driver’s license and license plate sticker before you leave.”

Lynne Gilchrist and her husband missed the funeral, saying that not being allowed to fly due to having an expired license was a frustrating experience.

“Would you not advise your passengers to ensure that their ID is updated during the pandemic in particular?” said Gilchrist. “I want people to be aware because I do not want people to suffer like I did.”


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