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Ontario-born Quebec residents: Apply for a birth certificate
Ontario-born Quebec residents must apply for an Ontario birth certificate with parental information, and then subsequently insert that birth certificate into the Quebec registrar of civil status, to be able to change their (first or last) name, their gender marker, or both, in Quebec. Just because you’re born in Ontario doesn’t mean you can change your name there; you have to have lived there for at least 12 months. However, it is possible to change your sex designation in your Ontario birth registration using Ontario’s processes, even if you are not currently residing in Ontario.
This page will explain the process to order an Ontario birth certificate with parental information, and which Ontario birth certificates are accepted for name and gender marker changes in Quebec.
If you have already changed your name and/or gender marker in Ontario, and wish to have this reflected on your Quebec IDs or birth certificate, this page does not apply. Please check the International Gender Marker Changes page (TBA) 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 celeste (at/à) juritrans.ca.
Which Ontario documents are accepted?
The answer is: any bilingual birth certificate or birth registration document with parental information.
Quebec, owing to its French language laws (Bill 96), requires that documents inserted into the Quebec civil status registry be in French. English documents aren’t accepted, unless it comes with a certified translation made in Quebec. Since certified translations invariably cost more than ordering a new birth certificate in Ontario (even the Trans ID Clinic has to pay $57.50 per birth certificate, using a discounted rate), it is always a better idea to order a new birth certificate.
Additionally, birth certificates without parental information, also known as “short-form” birth certificates, are not accepted. The Directeur de l’état civil rejects all short-form birth certificates.
As such, the following table summarizes whether the document is accepted or no. Generally speaking, Ontario birth certificates with parental information issued after April 15, 2015 will work. Your older documents most likely either won’t work, or would require a translation.
Ontario polymer birth certificate with parental information
Issued on or after April 15, 2015
Accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil
Ontario polymer birth certificate without parental information
(Also known simply as a “birth certificate” in Ontario)
Not accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil
“Card form” Ontario birth certificate
(Also known as a short-form birth certificate: issued before 2015)
Not accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil
Ontario Statement of Live Birth
(Also known as a Certified Copy of Birth Registration)
Not accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil as-is; translation into French is mandatory
Finally, it’s important to remember that your Ontario birth certificate with parental information that you’ll be submitting to the Quebec civil status registry will not be returned to you. As such, it always is a good idea to keep an extra birth registration document — such as a Statement of Live Birth or a birth certificate without parental information — on hand, in case you ever need it!
How to order a birth certificate
The process to order a birth certificate is the same for all Ontario adults. It differs for youth. It usually is easiest to apply online for an Ontario birth certificate, but it is possible to apply in-person (in Toronto or Ottawa) or by mail, depending on the circumstances.
The form to apply online is here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-or-replace-ontario-birth-certificate. The application will cost you $25 if you have never previously obtained a birth certificate with parental information, and $35 if you have had one before.
Click the big “Order a birth certificate online” button to begin. I recommend doing this process on a computer. The application process is fairly linear. You’ll need to select “Birth” when prompted between birth, marriage and death, as well as “Birth Certificate with Parental Information” once the time comes. If you are unable to fill in one of given blanks, don’t worry about it: try and fill out the form to the best of your knowledge.
If you are ever prompted on whether you want to show your sex designation on the birth certificate or no, make sure that your sex designation appears on it. The Directeur de l’état civil refuses to insert birth certificates without sex designations.
You’ll eventually be prompted to find a guarantor for your birth certificate. This is, almost invariably, the hardest step in ordering an Ontario birth certificate, and unfortunately, cannot be bypassed since it is encoded in its Vital Statistics Act. For this, you’ll need to find one person who is a Canadian citizen, has known you for at least two years (in any shape or form), and must work in one of many specified occupations. Authorized occupations include:
- notary public in a province other than Quebec (not to be confused with a Commissioner for Oaths)
- lawyer (practicing in any Canadian jurisdiction), judges, justices of the peace, or Quebec notary registered at the Chambre des notaires du Québec
- teacher, vice-principal or principal of a primary or secondary school, professor at a university, or senior administrator at a community college, CÉGEP or university
- health or social services professional (chiropractors, dentists, midwives, nurses, optometrists, pharmacists, physicians, surgeons, psychologists, veterinarians, and social workers)
- signing officer of a bank, credit union, or trust company
- professional, licensed engineer or accountant
- minister of religion authorized to perform marriages
- chief of a band recognized under the federal Indian Act
You should contact your guarantor before or while going ahead with the birth certificate application so that you can input their information.
If you are unable to find a guarantor, you may alternatively obtain a reference letter from someone who is part of the aforementioned list of occupations, but who either isn’t a Canadian citizen, or has known you for less than two years. You’ll also need to provide a justification letter in that case. More instructions can be found on Service Ontario’s webpage.
After filling out the form, you’ll be prompted to pay the fee. This may be done by Visa or Mastercard debit or credit cards, or Interac Online. If you are unable to use such a means of payment, you’ll need to apply either in person or by mail.
Once you’re done, you’ll receive an online receipt. You will receive your birth certificate, under normal conditions, in 3-4 weeks.
After your application for a birth certificate
Your birth certificate will arrive by mail in 3-4 weeks, by Canada Post.
Following that, you may insert the birth certificate into the Quebec Registrar of Civil Status, by mailing out the applicable forms and your birth certificate with your name change or gender marker change application. You may also mail out the application for birth certificate insertion separately.
If your application for insertion is accepted, your Ontario birth certificate will not be returned. If you ever do need to apply for a new Ontario birth certificate with parental information, you may need to explain that your last one was taken away by the Quebec government. As ridiculous as that sounds, welcome to la belle province.
Doing the process at the Trans ID Clinic
The birth certificate insertion process, birth certificate applications for Ontario, 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 any name change or gender marker change application submitted at the same time) 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.
Filling out your application at home
You may apply for a birth certificate online! I’d actually recommend that if you only need an Ontario birth certificate and do not need a gender marker change, unless you need live help with ordering the certificate proper. The form to apply online is here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-or-replace-ontario-birth-certificate.