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Change of name

Change of name: a significant act

The law permits a person to apply for a change of given name or surname under certain conditions.

Such a change is granted only if a serious reason, within the meaning of the Civil Code of Québec, has been shown.

Important

Under the Civil Code of Québec, both spouses retain their respective names in marriage and exercise civil rights under those names. Consequently, if a married woman wants to adopt her spouse's surname, the Directeur de l'état civil will authorize that change of name only in an exceptional situation.

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Two ways to change a name

Depending on the situation, an application for a change of name may be filed by way of judicial process before the courts or by way of administrative process with the Directeur de l'état civil.

By way of judicial process: the courts

The court can authorize a change of name for a child in the case of abandonment by the father or mother, in the case of deprivation of parental authority or in the case of a change of filiation, for example by adoption.

A person who wishes to file an application for a change of name for a minor child by way of administrative process may, if an objection is made, as the case may be, by the father, mother or tutor, if any, or by the minor 14 years of age or over, submit the application to the court before it is filed with the Directeur de l’état civil.

If you are in one of these situations and would like to apply for a change of name, we invite you to consult a legal adviser, who will guide you in choosing the appropriate recourse.

By way of administrative process: the Directeur de l'état civil

The Directeur de l'état civil handles all applications for a change of name that are not under the jurisdiction of the court. The reasons invoked and the documents submitted to support the application are of great importance, as they enable the Directeur de l'état civil to accurately assess the application.

Below are some examples of reasons for applying for a change of name:

  • The use, for five years or more, of a surname or given name not entered on the act of birth
  • A name of foreign origin, too difficult to pronounce or write in its original form
  • Serious prejudice or psychological suffering caused by the use of the name
  • A name that invites ridicule or that is infamous (marked by disgrace, shame or humiliation)
  • The intention to add to the surname of a child under 18 the surname of the father or mother, or a part of it if it is a compound surname

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Who can apply for a change of name?

You can apply for a change of name for yourself if you are 14 years of age or over, a Canadian citizen and domiciled in Québec for at least one year.

You can apply for a change of name for a minor if you are the father, mother or tutor, provided the minor is a Canadian citizen and domiciled in Québec for at least one year.

Person born outside Québec

If you, or the person whose name you have applied to change, was born outside Québec and the birth is not entered in the Québec register of civil status, you must first ask the Directeur de l'état civil to insert the act of birth in the register so the application for a change of name can be processed. In that case, you must complete the Application for Insertion of an Act of Civil Status Made Outside Québec into the Québec Register of Civil Status (PDF, 52 Ko) This link opens a new window. form, which is in the Forms and publications section, or which you can obtain at one of the Directeur de l'état civil service counters in Québec or Montréal or by contacting us. For more information, see the section Insertion of an act made outside Québec into the Québec register of civil status.

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How to file an application

Step one: Submit the application for preliminary analysis

Preliminary analysis enables the Directeur de l'état civil to verify a person's eligibility to apply for a change of name and to determine if that step is appropriate for his or her situation.

In order to submit a case for preliminary analysis, you must complete the Request for Preliminary Analysis for a Change of name Application (PDF, 20 Ko) This link opens a new window. form, which is in the Forms and publications section, or which you can obtain at one of the Directeur de l'état civil service counters in Québec or Montréal or by contacting us.

If, after preliminary analysis, you or the person for whom you are applying is eligible to apply for a change of name, we will send you all of the necessary documents by mail. If not, we will inform you of the appropriate solution for the situation.

Important

Eligibility to apply for a change of name does not mean that the change of name will be authorized by the Directeur de l'état civil.

Step two: Submit the application for a change of name

You must complete the application for a change of name form that you received in the mail.

Before filing your application with the Directeur de l'état civil, you must take the following steps:

  • Make a sworn statement before a person authorized by law.
  • In the case of an application filed by a person between age 14 and 17, you must notify your father, mother or tutor, if applicable, that you will file an application for a change of name with the Directeur de l'état civil.
  • In the case of an application for a person under 18 years of age filed by his or her father, mother or tutor, notify the child’s other parent or tutor, if applicable, that an application for a change of name will be filed with the Directeur de l'état civil for that child.
  • In the case of an application for a person between age 14 and 17 filed by his or her father, mother or tutor, notify the person that an application to change his or her name will be filed with the Directeur de l'état civil.
  • Give public notice of your intention to file an application for a change of name by having the required notices published, unless you have been exempted.

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Required publications

In accordance with the Civil Code of Québec and barring exemption, persons who submit an application for a change of name to the Directeur de l'état civil must mandatorily give public notice of their intention to change their name and that of their children, if applicable. It is in publishing notices in newspapers that you comply with this requirement. These publications allow interested persons to become aware of your application for a change of name.

At least four notices must be published. Therefore,

  • two notices must be published, 7 days apart, in the Gazette officielle du Québec (the notices are also published on its website);
  • two notices must be published, 7 days apart, in a local newspaper published in the judicial district where the person concerned by the application is domiciled.
  • If the application for a change of name concerns the applicant and the applicant’s child, two more notices must be published, 7 days apart, in the local newspaper published in the judicial district where the child is domiciled, if different from the district where the applicant is domiciled.

Exemption from publication

In the following cases, publication of a notice is not required:

  • The change of name manifestly concerns the modification of a person's gender identity.
  • The person concerned by the change of name is a child under 6 months of age.

For other situations, in exceptional circumstances, the justice minister can equally grant a special exemption from publication for reasons of public interest. For more information, contact us.

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Comments and objections

Following publication in the newspapers, it is possible for persons to submit comments regarding the application for a change of name or to object to it.

Anyone can submit his or her comments. However, when the application is for a person under age 18, an objection can only be formulated by the father, mother, tutor, or the child if he or she is 14 years of age or older. Any comment or objection must be sent in writing to the Directeur de l'état civil no later than 20 days after the last newspaper publication.

If the Directeur de l'état civil receives comments or an objection concerning an application, these are submitted to the applicant, who then has 15 days to provide a written reply to the Directeur de l'état civil.

When the application is exclusively to add to the surname of a person under 18 year of age a part taken from the surname of the father or mother, only the father, mother or tutor of the minor under 14 years of age, or the minor 14 years of age or over can object.

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Decision rendered

After examining an application for a change of name, the registrar of civil status renders a written decision explaining the reasons for accepting or rejecting it. That decision is given to the applicant and, if applicable, to persons who submitted an objection or comments regarding the application.

Only the court can review the decision. If an applicant is not satisfied with the decision of the Directeur de l'état civil, he or she may, within 30 days of the decision, file a judicial application to have it reviewed. If you are in that situation, we invite you to consult a legal adviser, who will guide you in choosing the appropriate recourse.

Upon expiry of the 30-day period, if the decision of the Directeur de l'état civil was favorable and no judicial application was filed in court to have the decision reviewed, the Directeur de l'état civil publishes a notice of the decision in the Gazette officielle du Québec, unless the decision pertains to a case involving exemption from publication and alters the Québec register of civil status accordingly. In addition, the applicant receives from the Directeur a certificate of change of name for the person whose name was changed. It is only after that period that it is possible to apply to the Directeur de l'état civil for a certificate or a copy of the act of birth containing the new name of the person concerned by the change of name.

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Effects of a change of name

When a person's change of name takes effect, it is the responsibility of that person or the person’s father, mother or tutor to have his or her name changed in files held by government departments or agencies. This entails providing a change of name certificate and a new birth certificate as proof.

However, if you fill out the application for the simplified forwarding of information relative to a change of name or designation of sex, the Directeur de l'état civil can notify certain departments or agencies of the change on your behalf, freeing you of the need to provide these documents to them.

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Application for the simplified forwarding of information relative to the change of name or designation of sex

Under agreements with various government departments and agencies, the Directeur de l'état civil is authorized to forward them the information they need to apply the laws and programs under their administration. These agreements specify procedures that comply with the applicable legislation, in particular concerning the protection of personal information.

If the change of name or designation of sex takes effect, the Directeur de l'état civil will automatically notify the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec and Retraite Québec for the Québec Pension Plan and the Child assistance measure by forwarding them the information they need to change the person’s name within these organizations.

The Directeur de l'état civil has created a form that enables it to forward information relative to a person’s change of name or, if applicable, change of designation of sex not only to the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec and Retraite Québec for the Québec Pension Plan and the Child assistance measure, but also to the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, the Curateur public du Québec and the Commission Commission des normes, de l’équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail. This form is included with the change of name application. Consequently, if the change of name takes effect, the Directeur de l’état civil can notify these organizations, freeing you of the need to take steps with them regarding the change. You will not have to provide them with a change of name certificate and a new birth certificate as proofs of the change.

Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward the Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file in the context of the Health Insurance Plan and, if applicable, the Public Prescription Drug Plan. However, you will have to contact the Régie as soon as you are notified that the change has taken effect in order to obtain a new health insurance card, as the card already issued will no longer be valid.

Retraite Québec - Québec Pension Plan and the Child assistance measure

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward to Retraite Québec the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file, if applicable, in the context of the programs of the Québec Pension Plan and the Child assistance measure. You will have no other formality to complete with this organization regarding this change.

Retraite Québec - Public sector pension plans (RREGOP, PPMP or other)

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward to Retraite Québec the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file in the context of public sector pension plans. You will have no other formality to complete with this organization regarding this change.

Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward the Ministère du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file in the context of a Social Assistance Program, a social assistance and support program, an employment program, measure or service, a professional qualification program or a file held by the collection centre. You will have no other formality to complete with the Ministère with regard to this change.

Curateur public du Québec

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward to the Curateur public du Québec the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file. You will have no other formality to complete with the Curateur with regard to this change.

Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail

The Directeur de l’état civil will forward to the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail the information required to change the person’s name in his or her file. You will have no other formality to complete with the Commission with regard to this change.

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Processing fee and turnaround

The study of a request for preliminary analysis for a change of name application is free.

Fees charged for the study of a change of name application are listed in the section Processing fees and turnaround.

Processing an application for a change of name generally takes 90 business days if, upon receipt of the application, all the necessary documents meeting the requirements have been provided.

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Reviewed: 2016-04-01

Website of Québec.

© Gouvernement du Québec, 2016

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