Rights and Governments

Changing Your Name


What can you do if you want to change the name you were given at birth? In Quebec, you can change your name without going to court in some situations. But you must follow specific rules before the Directeur de l’état civil (registrar of civil status) will allow it.

A person’s name is the family name and first name(s) appearing on the act of birth, including their usual given name.  

Reasons accepted for a name change

If you simply want to add your mother’s or your father’s family name to your name, you can do this by filling out a form from the Directeur de l’état civil (registrar of civil status). You must also attach some documents to the form.

In all other cases, you need a serious reason to change your first name or family name. Here are some examples:

  • The name you’ve been using for several years in everyday life is not the same as the one on your act of birth.
  • Your name is of foreign origin or too difficult to pronounce or write.
  • Your name can be ridiculed.
  • Your name is associated with something negative or hurts your reputation by identifying you with another person.
  • Using your own family name instead of your husband’s goes against your religious beliefs or prevents you from being recognized as his wife in another country.

You can ask to change your first name on your application to change your sex designation. Read our article on changing your sex designation to learn more.

Another option since June 8, 2023: changing your usual given name

A person can now change their usual given name through a process called “substitution of the usual given name”. A person’s usual given name is the one they regularly use.

This procedure allows someone to choose a new given name among the ones indicated on their act of birth (for example, their middle name).

Before June 8, the Directeur de l’état civil (registrar of civil status) already used to identify people’s given names (usually the first name on the act of birth and birth certificate). If the usual given name identified by the Directeur de l’état civil isn’t the one you regularly use, you can request a change free of charge.

For more information about changing your given name, check out the Directeur de l’état civil’s website.

Application to change your name

To apply to the Directeur de l’état civil to change your name, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You’ve been living in Quebec for at least a year.
  • You’re at least 14 years old. (Parents can ask for a child under the age of 14.)

The first step is to complete and send the form Application for a Preliminary Analysis for a Change of Name to the Directeur. The Directeur checks that you meet the required conditions.

Then the Directeur sends you a form called Application for a Change of Name. You must explain on that form why you want to change your name. You must attach specific documents and pay an application fee.

The Directeur makes a final decision on whether to accept your application. If it accepts your application, the Directeur usually publishes a notice on its website. You then receive an official certificate confirming your name change.

Changing your name can take several months.

Name change for residential school survivors

Until June 8, 2032, name change applications are free of charge for residential school survivors whose names were changed while they were in a residential school and who now wish to re-adopt their traditional names. The application is also free of charge for their descendants.

Challenging a decision about a name change

If you’re not happy with the Directeur’s decision, you have 30 days from the time you receive the decision to ask the Superior Court to review it. The court does a new study of your file, and you can submit new evidence (proof).

Changing the name of a child

You can apply to change the name of your child who’s under 14.

You must ask the court to make the changeif it’s for one of these reasons:

  • The child is adopted.
  • The child was abandoned by one of the parents.
  • One of the child’s parents lost parental rights.

In these situations, the application for a change of name is usually made with another application (for example, application for adoption or application for deprivation of parental authority).

The application to change the child’s name must be presented in court if one of the child’s parents or the child’s guardian (tutor) is against it, or if the child is against it and is 14 or older.

To learn more about changing your name, consult a legal professional.

Effects of a name change

If the application for a name change is approved, the Directeur de l’état civil will change your act of birth and act of marriage or civil union.

The Directeur automatically contacts some organizations, such as those below, so they can make the changes in their files:

  • Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (health insurance board)
  • Retraite Québec (pension board) for the Quebec Pension Plan and child support

If you agreed to it on your application form, the Directeur will tell other ministries and organizations about the change. It can also send you certificates confirming your name change.

You’re responsible for making the changes to other identity documents, such as your health insurance card, driver’s licence and passport.

If your child has the same family name as you and you change it, then your child’s family name is also changed.

Important: Any documents you signed using your old name are still valid. For example, if you signed a contract under the name Paul Dubé-Lessard, you still have responsibilities under the contract, even if your name is now Paul Dubé.

But you or the person you made the contract with can ask to change the contract so it has your new name.