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A passenger holds his Canadian passport before boarding a flight in Ottawa on Jan 23, 2007.

TOM HANSON/The Canadian Press

Ontario is scrambling to work out a deal with the federal government after learning its new gender-neutral health cards cannot be used to obtain a passport.

ServiceOntario, which administers the health card program, is in negotiations with Ottawa about a solution to the issue, which is a problem for people who don't have a driver's licence and want to get a passport.

Health Minister Eric Hoskins says as a temporary fix, ServiceOntario can issue receipts with the health card that contain all the identifying information needed for passport applications.

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He says people who don't have the receipt for their health card can obtain a copy from ServiceOntario.

Hoskins couldn't say if the province told the federal government it was going to eliminate the part of the health cards that identify the person's sex.

The province announced in June that it would stop including gender on health cards, and starting next year, people will have the option of selecting X on their driver's license instead of M for male or F for female.

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