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Inserting a Birth Certificate into the Quebec Registrar of Civil Status
Inserting your birth certificate or act of birth into the Quebec Registrar of Civil Status is a prerequisite to changing your gender marker or name in Quebec. This involves providing, and sacrificing, an original document proving your birth, such as a birth certificate. This is a requirement that is completely unique to Quebec, and is arguably, as of 2023, the most significant barrier to change your gender marker in the province.
This page will explain the process to insert your birth certificate into the Quebec Registrar of Civil Status, how to acquire such a birth certificate for certain jurisdictions (notably Ontario and other Canadian provinces), and any other prerequisites which may exist.
If you already previously changed your name and/or gender marker in another juridiction and wish for this change to be reflected in your Quebec documents or birth certificate, this page does not apply. Please check the International Gender Marker Changes page for more information.
If you are not sure what to do, you may pass by the Trans ID Clinic to ask any questions you may have! You may also email me your questions at celestetrianon (at/à) riseup.net.
The process to inserting your birth certificate or act of birth into the Quebec registrar of civil status is theoretically very simple: fill out a form with your old (prename or gender marker change) information, include that and your original birth certificate in your gender marker or name change application, and mail it off. You may also mail off the application on its own. The hard part is implementing that in practice.
First and foremost, the birth certificate in question must contain parental information. As such, so-called “short form” birth certificates — often issued by default in other juridictions such as Ontario — will not work. The birth certificate must include the following information:
- your full legally recognized name (at least your last name and first name);
- your legal gender marker (must appear as part of either the original document, or in some cases where the original language might infer gender, a certified translation enumerating it);
- your date of birth (up to the specific day);
- your parents’ legally recognized names (if your birth certificate indicates only one parent, said parent’s information).
Second, owing to Bill 96 (Quebec’s recent French language bill), your birth certificate must be in French. Documents in other languages, English included, will need to be translated by a Quebec-certified translator at (technically) your own fees. This notably affects people born in the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Newfoundland, people born abroad (e.g. the United States), and Canadians born in other provinces who may have older birth certificates (generally issued prior to 2008). As much as this requirement, as well as other parts of Bill 96, are clearly discriminatory towards trans migrants and residents of other provinces or territories, there’s nothing I can really do about it. If your birth certificate is English-only, email me at celestetrianon (at) riseup.net for more information, and to get your birth certificate translated on a pay-what-you-can basis.
Third, your birth certificate will be sacrificed in the process, as you will not be getting it back. In case you are worried you might end up undocumented by performing the Quebec birth certificate insertion process, you should order an additional birth certificate or document for yourself in advance.
How to order a birth certificate
This part varies depending on the juridiction you were born in. There are a variety of different requirements imposed by different jurisdictions for ordering birth certificates, depending on juridiction. This website notably provides instructions for Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta birth certificate applications.
For more information:
- Ordering an Ontario birth certificate
- Ordering a British Columbia birth certificate, and getting it translated (TBA)
- Ordering an Alberta birth certificate (TBA)
After your application
After your application is sent in the mail, you will receive a document — an Accusé de réception — confirming that the application has been received. The Directeur de l’état civil will analyse the files you have, and subsequently send you a decision telling you whether they have accepted to insert your birth certificate into the registrar or no, and if not, the reasons behind. If your application is incomplete or otherwise doesn’t satisfy their rules, you may expect some back-and-forthing, either by mail or by phone, with one of their agents; you may be asked to submit additional documents.
Once the application is accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil, if you submitted your application with a gender marker change or name change application, that application will be analyzed from that point onward.
If your application is accepted, your original birth certificate will not be returned. If it is rejected for one reason or another, or if your application is incomplete, your documents will be sent back to you.
Doing the process at the Trans ID Clinic
The birth certificate insertion process, birth certificate applications for other Canadian provinces and territories, as well as name and gender marker changes, are all things the Trans ID Clinic can help you with. Doing so will help simplify much of the process for you, since you won’t have to worry about finding everything, and I can provide both information and Commissioner for Oaths services (for name changes, gender marker changes and Alberta birth certificate applications) on the spot; however, I am not able to waive any government-imposed requirements on name and gender marker changes, and cannot provide legal advice.
If you do not have a birth certificate, the Trans ID Clinic will try its best to help, but there are no guarantees on that end. The amount of help I’ll be able to provide will also be limited. I might have to ask you to talk to a lawyer in the event that the legal information that needs to be provided goes beyond my scope of expertise.
Filling out your application at home
The forms for an application to insert your birth certificate or act of birth into the Quebec civil status registry can be found on the Directeur de l’état civil‘s website here: https://etatcivil.gouv.qc.ca/en/forms-publications.html. The process is free, and does not require a Commissioner for Oaths unless you join said request with a gender marker or name change form.