If you want to reclaim your former name in Ontario, you’ve come to the right place. You can simply show your divorce order if it lists both your married and former names. If your former name is not listed you can show your divorce order and marriage certificate. If you’re not divorced or don’t have a divorce order you can instead show your wedding certificate together with your birth certificate or Canadian citizenship certificate in your former name.
If you took your spouse’s surname when you got married chances are you didn’t change the name on your birth certificate. This means you’ve only assumed your spouse’s name. You are legally entitled to be known by your prior name at any time – no matter what your personal situation. You can check this on your birth certificate. If it does not list your married name and is in your former name then you can go back to this name without any special registration. If your Canadian birth certificate shows your spouse’s surname then you’ll need to apply for a legal name change. You can do this by requesting the ‘Election to resume former name’ form from Service Ontario. There is a $25 filing fee which is waived if you were divorced in the past 90 days. Once successful your birth certificate will be updated.
Step 1 – Get your certificate
The exact combination of documents will vary depending on your situation. You must have original government-issued documents that prove your name at birth or at the time you became a Canadian citizen, plus proof of your marriage or divorce which lists your married and former name. You may show Canadian-issued documents or documents issued by a foreign government authority.
If you can’t find your birth or marriage certificates, apply for a replacement from Service Ontario or from Vital Statistics in the province where your event took place. Your marriage certificate lists your name at the time of marriage and your spouse’s surname and proves the link between the two names. If you are divorced you can instead show your divorce order providing it lists both names.
If you have the necessary documents there’s no extra cost to get started and you can start changing names now. If you can’t find your marriage certificate you can order a new one from Service Ontario, or we can provide the application form for a replacement marriage certificate regardless of where in Canada you were married. You can still get started with your name change paperwork now, and it will be ready to send off by the time your replacement certificate arrives.
Step 2 – Change the name on your records
Start by updating your Ontario driver’s license and health care card in person at any Service Ontario branch. There is no charge. Take any associated plastic cards with you plus your original proof of name documents. Then go on to notify all the other organizations of your new name. Click the button below to choose all the organizations you need to notify. We provide personalized and ready-to-send forms, letters and emails so you can just sign and send! For any of your chosen companies that do not accept name change requests in writing, we’ll explain the process so you don’t need to waste time figuring out what steps to follow.
Step 3 – It’s official!
Most companies don’t write back to confirm your name change has taken place. Keep an eye on any mailed correspondence and check the name on any accounts when logging into any online profiles. If you don’t see your new name within 4 to 6 weeks of your request being received you will need to follow up with that company.