What conditions must be met before a child in Ontario can change their name?

In Ontario, the relevant piece of legislation with respect to this issue is called the Change of Name Act (CNA). Generally speaking, a child who was born in Ontario is recognized by the name that appears on their birth certificate. In order for a parent to change the name of his or her child (first or last name), the child must have been living in Ontario for at least one year immediately before applying for a change of name.

The person looking to change the name of the child may apply to the Registrar General to do so. However, certain preconditions must be met. For example, the application to change the name of a child requires the written consent of any person with lawful custody of the child or any person whose consent is necessary in accordance with a court order, separation agreement, as well as the child’s consent if he or she is over the age of 12.

Notice of the application must be given to every person who is lawfully entitled to access to the child, but the application does not require the consent of a non-custodial parent unless the consent is required by court order or separation agreement. This is significant and should be discussed with your lawyer because what this means is that if you do not have custody of your child, the child’s name can be changed without your consent. This is important because if custody becomes a matter that goes to litigation and you are the access parent, your lawyer should request an order that the custodial parent may not change the child’s name without your consent. The same provision should be inserted into any separation agreement.

For more information with respect to the above, contact one of the family law lawyers at Radley Family Law.​