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Name Act

[RSBC 1996] CHAPTER 328

Contents
1Definitions
2No change of name except under Act
3Use of surnames on marriage
4Persons entitled to change names
5Change of name on dissolution or nullity of marriage
6Repealed
6.1Criminal record check
7Documents to be filed with registrar general
8Power to take affidavits
9Change of name registered or refused
10Effect of registration
11Certificate of change of name
12Publication of change of name
13Search and evidence
14Notation of names after alteration
15Obtaining of change of name by fraud
16Offences
17Power to make regulations
18Forms

Definitions

1  In this Act:

"change" includes a change by way of alteration, substitution, addition or abandonment;

"given name" means a name other than a surname;

"name" means given name or surname, or both;

"parent" means a parent under Part 3 of the Family Law Act;

"registrar general" has the same meaning as in the Vital Statistics Act;

"surname" has the same meaning as in the Vital Statistics Act;

"vital statistics registrar" means a vital statistics registrar under the Vital Statistics Act;

No change of name except under Act

2  (1) A person in British Columbia must not change his or her name unless authorized to do so by section 4, and then only in the manner provided by this Act.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to any of the following:

(a) a change in the surname of one spouse to the surname of the other spouse;

(b) a change in name resulting from adoption under the Adoption Act;

(c) a change of name appearing on a certificate of naturalization;

(d) a change in name under the Vital Statistics Act;

(e) a change of name under section 5.

Use of surnames on marriage

3  A spouse by marriage may

(a) use the surname he or she had immediately before the marriage,

(b) use the surname he or she had at birth or by adoption, or

(c) use the surname of his or her spouse by marriage.

Persons entitled to change names

4  (1) Subject to this section, a person who has attained the age of majority or, if the age of majority has not been attained, is a parent having guardianship or custody of his or her child and who is domiciled in British Columbia for at least 3 months, or has resided in British Columbia for at least 3 months immediately before the date of the application, may, unless prohibited by this or another Act, change his or her name on complying with this Act.

(2) If the minister is satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so, the minister may waive the residency requirements of subsection (1).

(3) Subject to subsection (4), a parent having guardianship or custody of an unmarried minor child may, with the consent of all other parents having guardianship and other guardians of the child, apply to change the child's name, but, if the application is to change the child's surname to that of the applicant's spouse, the consent of the spouse is required.

(4) If a person applies to change the name of an unmarried minor child who has attained the age of 12 years, he or she must first obtain the consent in writing of the child.

(5) If a person whose consent is required under this Act

(a) is deceased or mentally disordered or cannot after reasonable, diligent and adequate search be located, or

(b) is, in the opinion of the registrar general, unreasonably withholding his or her consent,

the applicant may, with the approval of the registrar general, proceed with the application without the consent of that person.

(6) If, in the opinion of the registrar general, exceptional circumstances make it unreasonable to seek the consent of a person as required under this Act, the applicant may, with the approval of the registrar general, proceed with the application without the consent of that person.

Change of name on dissolution or nullity of marriage

5  (1) If

(a) a court in Canada has

(i) granted a decree absolute for dissolution of a marriage, or

(ii) made an order for nullity of a marriage, or

(b) a judge or officer of a court in Canada has issued a certificate stating that a divorce granted under the Divorce Act (Canada) has dissolved a marriage,

the Supreme Court may, at any time, on the application of a former spouse, order that his or her name be changed to the name he or she desires.

(2) If an applicant under subsection (1) has minor children of the marriage of whom he or she has guardianship or custody, the applicant may also apply to the Supreme Court to change the name of those children, but the Supreme Court, before making an order under subsection (1) in respect of those children, must require the written consent of all other parents.

(3) If the Supreme Court renders a judgment granting a divorce, it may, at the same time and whether or not claimed in the petition for divorce or by motion in the divorce proceeding, order that the name of a spouse be changed to the name he or she desires, to become effective on the same day as the judgment granting the divorce.

(4) If an application under this section is granted, the order must state the name to which the name of the spouse or children is changed.

(5) The district registrar of the court must transmit a copy of the order to the registrar general, who must register the change of name accordingly.

Repealed

6  [Repealed 2002-12-25.]

Criminal record check

6.1  (1) A person entitled to change his or her name or the name of his or her minor child under section 4 must, within the 30 day period before the person files an application under section 7, start a process, satisfactory to the registrar general, for a criminal record check of the person whose name is to be changed.

(2) Subsection (1) applies to a minor child only if the child is at least 18 years of age.

Documents to be filed with registrar general

7  (1) An applicant for a change of name must pay the prescribed fees to the registrar general and must file with the registrar general an application containing all of the following:

(a) a statement of all relevant facts;

(b) an affidavit verifying the application;

(c) the consent of every person whose consent is necessary under this Act;

(d) [Repealed 2002-12-26.]

(e) further documentary evidence or information required by the registrar general;

(f) the name and address of every person whose name will be changed because of a change of name of the applicant.

(1.1) In addition to the requirements set out in subsection (1), an applicant for a change of his or her name must file with the registrar general a form that authorizes the registrar general to provide the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with

(a) the applicant's name and change of name to be registered under this Act,

(b) the applicant's fingerprints,

(c) the applicant's date of birth, and

(d) other personal information of the applicant that is necessary for a criminal record check to be conducted.

(1.2) In addition to the requirements set out in subsection (1), an applicant for a change of name of his or her minor child who is at least 18 years of age must file with the registrar general a form that authorizes the registrar general to provide the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with

(a) the child's name and change of name to be registered under this Act,

(b) the child's fingerprints,

(c) the child's date of birth, and

(d) other personal information of the child that is necessary for a criminal record check to be conducted.

(1.3) Despite subsection (2) but subject to the regulations, the registrar general must disclose to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police information related to an applicant or his or her child that is described in subsection (1.1) or (1.2), as the case may be, on the change of the applicant's or child's name being registered under section 9.

(2) The registrar general must preserve in his or her office all documents filed with the registrar general, and except as provided in section 13, neither the documents themselves or information contained in the documents may be made available to any person, except the following:

(a) an officer of the government;

(b) a person authorized by the minister in writing;

(c) a person who has obtained from the Supreme Court an order permitting inspection.

(3) An order under subsection (2) (c) must not be made except on an application showing good cause, of which 5 days' notice has been served on the registrar general.

Power to take affidavits

8  The registrar general, an inspector of vital statistics or a vital statistics registrar has the powers of a commissioner for taking affidavits for British Columbia for the purposes of this Act.

Change of name registered or refused

9  (1) On receipt of an application and of the documents required to be filed with it, the registrar general, if the registrar general is satisfied that the proposed change is authorized by this Act, register the change of name.

(2) If the registrar general is not satisfied that the proposed change is authorized by this Act the registrar general must refuse to register the change of name and must notify the applicant.

(3) The registrar general must not register a change of name that would result in the applicant having only one name.

(4) The registrar general must refuse an application if the registrar general is of the opinion

(a) that the name that the applicant seeks to adopt might reasonably cause mistake or confusion or be a cause of embarrassment or confusion to any other person, or

(b) that the change of name is sought for an improper purpose or is on any other ground objectionable.

(5) If the registrar general refuses to register a change of name, the applicant, within 30 days after receipt of notification of the refusal, may appeal the refusal to the Supreme Court.

(6) The court

(a) may consider the evidence it considers relevant,

(b) must dispose of the appeal in a summary manner, and

(c) may make the order it thinks proper.

(7) The appellant must serve notice of the appeal on the registrar general not less than 5 days before the hearing.

(8) An appeal from a decision of the court lies to the Court of Appeal with leave of a justice of the Court of Appeal.

Effect of registration

10  (1) Registration under section 9, for all purposes, effects the change of name according to the tenor of the application.

(2) Registration of a change of surname of a person shall, subject to section 4 (3) and (4), effect a similar change in the surname of each of the unmarried minor children of the applicant that is included in the application.

Certificate of change of name

11  (1) If a change of name has been effected under section 10, a certificate of change of name, setting out the names of all persons for whom a change of name has been effected, signed by the registrar general and issued under the registrar general's seal of office, must

(a) be kept in the office of the registrar general, and

(b) be preserved and remain in the registrar general's custody as part of the records of the registrar general's office.

(2) The registrar general must deliver or mail to the applicant a copy of the certificate.

Publication of change of name

12  (1) Promptly after issuing a certificate of change of name under section 11, the registrar general must publish

(a) the person's new and former names,

(b) the person's date of birth,

(c) the name of the municipality in which the person resides, and

(d) the effective date of the certificate.

(2) Publication under subsection (1) may be in any form accessible to qualified applicants as determined by the registrar general, including electronic publication.

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply if

(a) the change of name is made for the sole purpose of changing the surname of a minor to the surname of the applicant, or

(b) in the opinion of the registrar general, publication is not in the public interest.

Search and evidence

13  (1) A person, on application and on payment of the prescribed fees, may have a search made of the registrations of changes of names kept in the office of the registrar general and may obtain from the registrar general a certificate stating the facts as registered for a change of name.

(2) No person, except as provided in section 7, is entitled to have access to the documents filed under section 7 or to obtain copies of the documents.

(3) A certificate purporting to be issued under this section must be received in every court in British Columbia as proof in the absence of evidence to the contrary of the facts in it certified to be registered or recorded.

(4) It is not necessary to prove the signature or official position of the person by whom the certificate purports to be signed.

(5) If the registrar general has made a determination under section 12 (3) (b) not to publish a change of name and the registrar general considers it in the public interest to do so, the registrar general may refuse to issue a certificate under subsection (1) of this section or give information respecting the person's change of name.

Notation of names after alteration

14  (1) If the name of a person of whose birth registration has been made under the Vital Statistics Act is changed under this Act, the registrar general must cause a marginal notation of the change of name to be made on the original record of the birth or marriage of the person.

(2) Despite subsection (1), a change of surname must not be made on the registration of a marriage that has been dissolved or that has been terminated by the death of one of the spouses.

(3) If an application is made for a certificate of the registration of birth or marriage on the record of which a marginal notation has been made under subsection (1), the registrar general must issue the certificate as if the original registration had been made in the name of that person as changed under this Act.

Obtaining of change of name by fraud

15  (1) If a person has been convicted of obtaining a change of name by fraud or misrepresentation, after the time for appeal against the conviction has expired, or if, an appeal having been taken, the conviction is sustained, the registrar general must annul the change of name by order effective from the date named in it.

(2) A marginal notation of the order must be made on the certificates issued under section 11.

(3) If the registrar general has, under subsection (1), annulled a change of name, the registrar general may by order require a person to whom a copy of the certificate has been issued under this Act promptly to deliver it up.

Offences

16  (1) A person who by fraud or misrepresentation effects a change of name under this Act and a person who violates a provision of this Act or who fails to comply with a provision, commits an offence.

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable on conviction to a penalty of not more than $500 or to imprisonment for any term not longer than 6 months.

(3) A person who refuses or neglects to comply with an order under section 15 (3) commits an offence.

(4) A person who commits an offence under subsection (3) is liable on conviction to a penalty of not more than $100 and costs.

(5) Proceedings may not be taken against a person under this Act without the consent in writing of the Attorney General.

Power to make regulations

17  (1) The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations referred to in section 41 of the Interpretation Act.

(2) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations prescribing fees to be paid for anything done or permitted to be done under this Act.

(2.1) Without limiting subsection (1), the Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations establishing circumstances in which section 7 (1.3) does not apply.

(3) The registrar general may waive the collection of a fee from a person if the registrar general considers it necessary in order to obtain compliance with the Act or to avoid hardship to the person.

Forms

18  The registrar general may establish forms to be used for the purposes of this Act.