Changing Legal Gender Assignment and Name in - UPDATED

Recently, Citizenship and Immigration Canada changed its policies to allow Canadians to self-identify on citizenship documents without sex-reassignment surgery.  Those wishing to change their gender on the certificate need only now submit provincially or territorially-issued documentation such as amended birth certificate.  This is an important step towards recognizing the rights of transgender Canadians.

In 2012, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario changed the requirements for transgender persons to obtain a change in sex designation on their registration of birth.  If you wish to change your sex designation on your birth certificate, you'll need to do the following:

All documents must be submitted to the Office of the Registrar General. Detailed guidance on how to change sex designation on a birth registration form for both adults and children can be found on the Government of Ontario website.

While the simplification of the process to change sex designation on a birth registration is a good thing, it still presents significant barriers for many transgender people who wish to legally change their gender assignment. Christin Milloy has an excellent blog post on how the HRTO's 2012 changes are a disappointment to many people. 

Changing your legal name in Ontario is a separate (and simpler) process from changing your sex designation on your birth certificate.  You'll need to complete an Application to Change an Adult's Name and have it notarized by a notary such as Downtown Notary Toronto and mail it and the requisite fees to the Office of the Registrar General.  Typically, when a person changes their name in Ontario it is published in the Ontario Gazette, the official publication of the Government of Ontario.  However, if you would prefer that this not happen you can submit a Request for Non-Publication in the Ontario Gazette form.

One of the questions we are asked most frequently is which document needs to be submitted first: the request to change sex designation on a birth certificate or the request to change your legal name. Generally, both applications can be submitted to the Ontario Officer of the Registrar General at the same time. If you have any questions about the process, we strongly recommend that you contact ServiceOntario. 

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has a great Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Change of Name for Trans Persons with information about the process in every province that we highly recommend .

Downtown Notary Toronto is an LGBTQ ally business.  One of the ways we hope to contribute to the breaking down of barriers for transgender persons is by notarizing Application of Change of Sex Designation on Birth Registration and Application to Change an Adult or Child's Name forms without charge.  For more information, please contact us.

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