Driving licence deal with Canadian cities on cards for 2014
Published 31/12/2013 | 02:30
IRISH driving licences will be officially recognised in certain Canadian cities early next year.
The Irish Independent can reveal that the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is on the cusp of finalising a "mutual recognition system" with the Canadian authorities.
The deal will be a huge boost for the thousands of young Irish who have moved there for work.
The provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Newfoundland and Labrador -- already home to large numbers of Irish emigrants -- will be first to benefit from the historic breakthrough.
Sources say negotiations in these provinces are at an "advanced stage", and will be completed early next year.
The RSA has also engaged with officials from the province of Alberta, and this week received documentation from Manitoba which it says is now being "analysed".
It is not possible to negotiate a mutual agreement at national level in Canada, because each provincial area operates its own licensing system.
The RSA decided to focus on locations where there is a "concentration" of Irish emigrants - giving priority to Ontario province, one of the largest provinces in Canada.
A spokesman for Transport Minister Leo Varadkar said that the authority would notify its Canadian counterparts that Ontario licences can be used in Ireland.
This is all part of what is intended to be a reciprocal arrangement between both countries.
Ireland has driving licence exchange agreements with other countries, including Australia, Japan, Jersey, South Africa and New Zealand.