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Canada - Change Your Name (Deed Poll)

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Contents

Introduction

Changing your name is an important decision that may have consequences or effects on your personal life and business matters. In most instances a legal change of name will change your birth record.

Eligibility

If you want to be known by a different name and have that new name listed on all your accounts and identification, then you'll need to legally change names. A legal name change is required for changes to spelling, the order of names, changing just one name or all names. Most provinces charge a flat fee no matter how much or little your name changes.

A legal name change can be undertaken by any Canadian citizen or permanent resident aged 18 or 19 years and older, depending on the laws for your province. Applications are lodged with the Vital Statistics office (VS) in your province and you may be required to submit to a background check, including criminal history and fingerprints.

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Instructions

Legal name change is a process managed by the office of Vital Statistics in each province. The exact laws, procedures, fees and eligibility vary between provinces.

If you're taking your husband's name after marriage or reverting to a name you held prior to marriage you don't need to legally change names.

The consent portion (page 2 a of the application form) has to be completed by the other parent when a child's name is changing. The spouse's consent is also required when a parent is changing their child's name to that of their spouse. The child's consent is required if the child is 12 years of age or over.

Required Information

  • Full name of the person making the application
  • The relationship between the person making the application and the person whose document is being changed and proof if applicable
  • Full return address of the applicant
  • Purpose for your request
  • Signature of the person making the application
  • Date the application is being made
  • Phone number or contact phone number of the person making the application
  • Details pertaining to the legal change of name (e.g. the old name and new names of the person who's name was changed, their sex, approximate year the change of name was registered)

Procedure

  • Go to a registry agent office and get a Legal Change of Name Application form.
  • Complete the form.
  • Gather the supporting documents needed. Examples of some supporting documents may include:
    • proof of name;
    • proof of marital status; and
    • proof of relationship to a child/ward.
  • You must surrender all Canadian birth and marriage certificates for anyone having their name changed.
  • Get electronic fingerprints from a fingerprinting agency in Alberta for each person 12 years of age or older who is having his/her name changed.
    • To find a fingerprinting agency, visit the RCMP detachment Website.
    • Contact the fingerprinting agency to confirm the cost and how long it will take.
  • Take the completed legal change of name application form and all the supporting documents to a registry agent office.

A name change can't be undertaken with the intention to defraud anyone or to disassociate with your financial or criminal history. You're usually required to provide a sound reason for changing names.

There is a fee payable directly to the Vital Statistics office which, if your application is successful, usually includes the issuing of your name change certificate, or if your birth was registered in that province, an amended birth certificate. Once you have certificate all Canadian organisations will accept your name change request and update your records accordingly.

Fingerprinting

Some provinces require fingerprints to be taken by the RCMP, which has an additional charge of about $25. Fingerprinting is compulsory in these provinces and will form part of your application. If you have queries about how your fingerprints will be used please contact Vital Statistics directly.

Residency

All provinces have residency requirements. Applicants are required to be permanent residents of the province from where they apply and may be asked to prove residency. You are generally able to apply if you have lived in that province for 3-4 months before applying. Some provinces require 6 or 12 months residency. Further details are on the application forms for each province.

Once successful

Once your application is successful you are issued with an amended birth certificate, providing you were born in that province. If you were born in a different province you will be issued with a legal name change certificate and your province of birth will be notified so you can order amended birth certificates. Either document is accepted everywhere as proof of name change.

All Canadian birth certificates must be surrendered when changing names. If you were born overseas you will need to provide your citizenship certificate or permanent residency card. Replacement documents in your new name will be issued on request.

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Required Documents

  • All applications must include the completion of Part 1 (a) and (b) by the applicant. An applicant may be a person changing their own name, or, a parent applying to change their child's name.
  • Applicants must surrender all original Birth Certificates for each person whose name is to be changed if born in Canada. If born elsewhere, certified copies of immigration papers or a permanent resident card is required. A marriage certificate may be required and proof of custody where a parent is applying to change their child's name without the other parent's consent.
  • Original Canadian certificates will be destroyed upon name change registration. You will be required to order new certificates from the province\territory where the event took place.

Fees

Applications must be accompanied with the required fee in the form of a certified cheque or money order payable to the Minister of Finance. Payment may also be made by credit card. The fee includes one large change of name certificate showing all authorized name changes.

Individuals 18 years of age or older who are changing their names are required to have electronic fingerprints taken by the RCMP, or an RCMP-accredited affiliate. Fingerprinting officials collect a fee for taking fingerprints in addition to the criminal record check fee of $25.

Validity

Explain the time until which the certificate/document is valid.
e.g. Birth Certificate Valid Forever

Documents to Use

To download application form see: Vital Statistics Offices

Sample Documents

Please attach sample completed documents that would help other people.

Processing Time

The average processing time is 6 to 8 weeks, however it can take longer if required.

Office Locations & Contacts

Canadian Vital Statistics Offices

Provincial Vital Statistics Offices

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Video

Videos explaining the procedure or to fill the applications. 
Attach videos using the following tag <&video type="website">video ID|width|height<&/video&> from external websites.
Please remove the "&" inside the tags during implementation.
Website = allocine, blip, dailymotion, facebook, gametrailers, googlevideo, html5, metacafe, myspace, revver, 
sevenload, viddler, vimeo, youku, youtube
width = 560, height = 340, Video ID = Can be obtained from the URL of webpage where the video is displayed.
e.g In the following url "http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0US7oR_t3M" Video ID is "Y0US7oR_t3M". 
	

Information which might help

If you decide to change your surname, it is your responsibility to change your name with all relevant government departments and agencies. The following will need to be updated:

  • Canadian Passport
  • Social Insurance Number (SIN)
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • Provincial or territorial health card
  • Provincial or territorial driver's licence

For more information on changing your name, consult your province or territory's website.

Other uses of the Document/Certificate

You may want to change your name because:

  • You have just gotten married
  • You have divorced
  • You just want a change
  • In case of adoption

External Links

Departments & agencies

Health Canada

Statistics Canada - Vital Statistics

Provinces and Territories

Others

There are restrictions when choosing a new legal name. The new name:

  • must contain a first and last name;
  • must use the English alphabet; and
  • cannot contain numbers, non-letter characters and/or profanity, but may contain the following punctuation marks: period (.), hyphen (-), apostrophe (').

A name can also be refused if it:

  • causes confusion;
  • embarrasses a person;
  • defrauds or misleads the public; or
  • is offensive on any other grounds.
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