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Plastic, not paper, health card promised by Alberta NDP

Alberta's paper health care ID cards are notoriously prone to ripping and crumpling (CTV News) Alberta's paper health care ID cards are notoriously prone to ripping and crumpling (CTV News)

Under an NDP government, Albertans would be able to enjoy new health cards – ones you won't be able to fold in half.

In a campaign promise on Friday, the NDP announced, if elected, it would invest $46 million in replacing existing paper Alberta Health cards with "secure, polycarbonate cards."

In addition to being stronger, the party says the new cards will possess "the latest security measures" to prevent identify theft and ensure every Albertan's health information is kept safe.

"The Alberta NDP is committed to a safe, secure, and modernized approach to public health care, and we will provide Albertans with a durable health card they can use to access the services they need," NDP Leader Rachel Notley said in a statement.

The NDP says the new cards will make good on one of the promises the UCP made to improve the cards.

This isn't the first time that the NDP has attempted to change the look of Alberta's personal documentation.

When they last formed government, the NDP introduced a new design for driver's licences and identification cards.

The cards, which were unveiled in 2018, had a number of security features such as clear windows, laser engraving and a 3D-embossed image of an Albertosaurus.

According to the NDP, Manitoba and Alberta are the only provinces that still use paper health cards.

If elected, the NDP says the funding will be used to design, produce and distribute new cards to 4.4 million Albertans.

The UCP, in response to CTV News' request for comment about the proposed plastic cards, said work is already underway to replace the existing paper health cards.

"It's unfortunate that the NDP did nothing when they had the chance, but we appreciate their endorsement," said Morinville-St. Albert UCP candidate Dale Nally in a statement.

In April 2022, former premier Jason Kenney said the UCP government were not going to be able to "get around to" changing over the cards during his time in government.

Details on the UCP's version of plastic health cards, including proposed costs, have not been released.