After a person gets married, she has the option to change her last name (also known as her family name or surname) to her spouse's last name. If she bought property with her spouse before they got married, the property title will be in her maiden name. Luckily, changing a name on a house deed is a relatively simple process in Ontario.
Making a Name Change Official
In Canada, a person has two ways to change his name after marriage. He can simply assume his new surname, which gives him the option to go back to his former surname in the future, as none of his identification documents need to be changed. However, when it comes to changing his name on a house deed, he must first formally (legally) change his name under the Change of Name Act. This process involves a police record check.
When he receives his certified marriage certificate, he should take it and current identification documents to the ServiceOntario office at 47 Sheppard Avenue East, Unit 417, 4th Floor, Toronto, ON, M2N 5N1 and complete the forms “Application to Change an Adult's Name” form and “Requirements for a Police Record Check for a Change of Name.” He can also download the documents from the ServiceOntario website and send them by post to ServiceOntario, Office of the Registrar General, P.O. Box 300, 189 Red River Rd., Thunder Bay, ON, P7B 5W0.
As of December 2019, the cost of a legal name change in Ontario is $137. It's important to be aware that he can change his name in Ontario only if he has lived there for the past 12 months.
After the application is processed, he will receive a new birth certificate with his new name if he was born in Ontario. If he wants to go back to his previous name at any point, he must contact the Office of the Registrar General.
Property Title Name Change
Ontario's land registration system contains official records of land and property in Ontario, including the title, which is simply a legal term for the land rights held by a person or corporation, and the deed, which is a term used for the legal document that transfers title from one person to another.
When someone has formally changed her name to her married name, she can then change her name on a house title in Ontario. First, she should contact the title company she used when she purchased the home and ask what requirements (and fee, if applicable) are required to change her name. Next, she should gather all documentation requested by the title company (typically the marriage license and updated ID card) and complete any necessary application forms. After these are submitted, she should receive confirmation of the change within a few weeks, plus a copy of the new deed reflecting the name change.
Changing a Name on Other Documents
To avoid the confusion from having two different last names on personal documents, this is a good time to change to the new married name with all Ontario service providers. Everybody has different accounts and records, but as a good starting point, he should consider changing the following:
- Ontario Health Card (OHIP).
- Ontario Driver’s license or Photo ID Card.
- Vehicle registration.
- Permanent Resident or Citizenship Card.
- Social Insurance Number (SIN) card.
- Tax information with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
- Banking and insurance information.
- Utility accounts.
- Records with health care providers.
The steps required can vary greatly with different organizations and government bodies, so it's always a good idea to check the process at the outset.
The title company will mail a new copy of your deed once the process is completed. The process can take up to 30 days.
Claire is a qualified lawyer and specialized in family law before becoming a full-time writer. She has written for many digital publications, including The Washington Post, Forbes, Vice and HealthCentral.