“I want to change my name back to my maiden name. How do I do this?”
Under the Change of Name Act, you may elect to resume the surname that you had immediately before the marriage. The Act used to require the decision to be made within 90 days of the dissolution of the marriage, either by divorce, annulment, or death of the former spouse. This 90-day requirement, however, is to be struck from the legislation, enabling you in the future to change back to your maiden name at any time, regardless of the date of the marriage.
In order to do so, you must complete a Form 2 “Election to Resume Former Surname” and pay a $25 fee. These forms are available through, and must be submitted to, the Office of the Registrar General. The application must include a copy of your birth certificate, any previous change-of-name certificates, divorce certificate, and any other information required on the Form 2. Any divorce certificate not written in English or French must be translated into English or French together with the translator’s written declaration.
Under certain circumstances, you may be required to provide the Registrar General with a police records check. This would apply in the following circumstances:
where you have been convicted of a criminal offence, except where a pardon has been granted;
where you have been found guilty of a criminal offense and discharged, except where the Criminal Records Act (Canada) requires that the record be purged;
where you have been found guilty under the Young Offenders Act (Canada), except an offence where the Act requires that the record be destroyed;
where you have outstanding law enforcement orders against you, including a warrant, prohibition order, restraining order, driver’s license suspension, probation order, or parole order of which you are aware; and
where you have any pending criminal charges against you of which you are aware.
Once the completed application, with accompanying documents, and fee are received, the Registrar General will register the change of name, note it on the birth certificate, and issue a change of name certificate and a new birth certificate to you. The Office of the Registrar General in Ontario can be reached at (800) 461-2156 or (416) 325-8305, or by writing to 189 Red River Road, Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6L8.
Linda M. Ippolito is a partner with Sheridan, Ippolito & Associates, a general civil litigation firm in Toronto’s Bloor West Village with a concentration in family and estates law. She has taught at the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Ontario Centre for Advocacy Training (OCAT); she also works as a mediator and is the general counsel to the Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto.