If you are looking to change multiple pieces of identification, you should change your birth certificate first, because many of the other identity pieces will require you to use your birth certificate to prove your identity.
Use the correct application form
Before you begin any name change process, make sure you have the right application form. There are three different forms for changing names in Ontario:
- Application to change an adult’s name: use this if you want to change your own name and you are 16 years of age or older. You will have to have lived in Ontario for the previous 12 months before sending the application.
- Application to change a child’s name: use this if you want to change the names of your children who are 17 years of age or younger. They will have to have lived in Ontario for the previous 12 months before you send the application, or, if the child is less than one year old, since birth.
- Name change election: use this if you want to change your last name because of marriage, divorce or death of your spouse. You may also use it to change your last name while you are living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage. You can get this form from the Office of the Registrar General. For more information, call 1-800-461-2156 outside Toronto but within North America or 416-325-8305 in Toronto or outside North America, TTY/Teletypewriter (for the hearing impaired) 416-325-3408.
Additional points to note before you get started
- You can apply to legally change your name in Ontario regardless of whether or not you were born in the province, but there are additional forms you must submit. You will be required, if possible, to contact your province or country of birth and attempt to change your name or sex marker on your original birth documentation.
- The government does not require any additional documentation if your name change does not conventionally reflect the sex designated on your government identification. The process is the same regardless.
- If you are a refugee, you must be a legal resident to apply for a name change in Ontario. A good time to change your name is when you are applying for permanent residency, since this is the name that will appear on your permanent resident card. However, you can also change your name at a later date.
- Notice of a name change is published in the Ontario Gazette. The Ontario Gazette is the Government of Ontario’s official publication, and can be searched online. Generally, notice of a name change is published in the Ontario Gazette, however, there are exceptions specified in the Change of Name Act. For more information, see the Ontario Gazette section in the How do I change my name on a birth certificate in Ontario? question.