How do I reclaim my traditional Indigenous name?

Thousands of Indigenous children were forced to give up their traditional names when they were taken from their families and put in Canadian residential schools.

In June 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission made a call to action for all governments to let residential school survivors and their families reclaim their traditional names at no cost.

In response, the Ontario government made it possible for residential school survivors and their families to reclaim their traditional names at no cost.

And the federal government has removed the fee for Indigenous Peoples to change the names on their federal documents until May 30, 2026.

To reclaim your traditional name in Ontario, you have to apply to ServiceOntario for a name change. You can also apply to change your name to a single name if that's part of your culture.

There are rules about who can apply. If you're eligible and your application is approved, you get a change of name certificate.  The certificate shows your previous name and your reclaimed name.

If you were born in Ontario, you also get a new birth certificate with your reclaimed name.

You can use the change of name certificate to change your name on other official documents. For example, provincial documents like your health card, driver's license, and marriage certificate. As well as federal official documents like your passport, SIN card, and citizenship certificate.

Hide this website