How to Change Your Name in Ontario

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There are countless reasons why residents of Ontario change their names but only one way to make it legal--fill out the appropriate forms and send them to the Ontario Government. In all cases you must have lived in Ontario for at least one year before you will be eligible to change your name. When the process is complete you will be issued a change of name certificate. You'll receive a new birth certificate if you were born in Ontario. If you were born in another province, territory or country, you will have to apply separately for a birth certificate that reflects your new name.

Obtain a copy of the Application to Change An Adult's Name. A copy can be downloaded from the Central Forms Repository on the Service Ontario website.

Obtain written consent from the individual who has custody of you if you are 16 or 17 years old. If you are younger than 16, you cannot change your name yourself.

Fill in the Notice form section of the application if you are married. This officially notifies your spouse that you are applying to change your name. If you live with your spouse, have him sign the form stating that he is aware of your application. Include the form with your application. If you do not live with your spouse, you must send the Notice form to him by registered mail and include the mail receipt--which must include the address and a date stamp--with your application.

Find a guarantor who will sign that you have been an Ontario resident for at least 12 months. The application form contains a list of professionals who qualify as guarantors. Your guarantor will complete the guarantor's section of the application.

Pay the fee by check, credit card or money order. As of 2010, the fee for an adult name change was $137 as of 2010.

Gather supporting documentation. This includes your original birth certificate if you were born in Canada or a photocopy of your birth certificate or birth registration if you were born outside of Canada. If you were born outside of Canada photocopy your landed immigrant card, permanent resident card or Canadian citizenship card. Photocopy both sides of a card that has information on two sides. If you have changed your name in the past, photocopy all previous change of name certificates.

Sign your application in front of a commissioner for taking affidavits or a commissioner for taking oaths. The application includes a list of professionals who are considered commissioners. By signing in front of a commissioner you are declaring that the information in your application is true and you have followed all necessary steps. Take your completed application and all supporting documentation with you to the commissioner.

Mail the application, all supporting documentation and payment to the Registrar General.

Warnings

  • If you are 16 or 17 years old and you are applying to change your own name, you are required to get the consent of whoever has legal custody of you. There is a special part of the adult name change application for this.
  • If you have a criminal record or have had other dealings with the law, you may be required to submit a criminal records check with your application. Check the application for more details.

Tips

  • If you are married or living common-law you can assume your partner's surname, either on its own or hyphenated with yours, without a legal name change. Simply present your marriage certificate as proof of name when changing your government identification and banking information. The name on your birth certificate will not change.
  • If you choose to change your last name legally as a result of marriage, complete the Election to Change Surname form, available from the Registrar General. If you are living common-law and wish to legally change your surname, you and your partner will need to fill out the Joint Declaration of Conjugal Relationship form.

References

About the Author

Jennifer Dawson is a Canadian researcher and writer who started freelancing in 2007. Specializing in environment and health topics, her work has appeared in “The Health Journal,” "Nutrition and Your Health," "Alternatives" and “Together Family.” Dawson has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in anthropology from McMaster University.

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