Can health cards serve as proof of your identity?

Just about everyone is asked at one time or another to provide photo identification. Being asked for your health card for identification purposes has raised a few questions about when it is acceptable to ask for or show a health card for this purpose. This is especially true for individuals whose health card is their only piece of photo identification.

In Ontario, only individuals or institutions that provide you with provincially funded health care services may require that you present your health card. For example, a doctor’s office, hospital, walk-in clinic or medical laboratory can ask to see your health card if they are providing you with health care.

Ontario’s health privacy law, however, does not prohibit you from volunteering your health card for identification purposes. While you are free to show your health card to organizations outside of the health care system, organizations not directly involved in the delivery of provincially funded health care are not permitted to make note of, record, collect, or use a health number for identification purposes.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions: Health Cards and Health Numbers brochure for more information. You can also contact our office if you have questions or concerns about your health card.


This post is also available in: French

Media Contact

For a quick response, kindly e-mail or phone us with details of your request such as media outlet, topic, and deadline:
Telephone: 416-326-3965

Social Media

The IPC maintains channels on Twitter, YouTube and Linkedin in its efforts to communicate to Ontarians and others interested in privacy, access and related issues.