Name change in Canada – tell me about it!

posted 3 years ago in Names
Post # 4
1060 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@Pinkmoon:  If you assume a new name (whats it’s called when you hyphenate or take his last name) they will automatically send you a new DL and health card.

Because my DL is my main form of ID I thought it made more sense to change everything (SIN, banks, CRA, insurance etc). You definitely will have to tell CRA that you are married, and if you change your name then your payroll will have a new name so it is easier to have name changed with CRA for that purpose.

I haven’t changed my passport yet because I haven’t had to use it, but I can still travel with it as long as I were to book a flght in my maiden name. The only requirement is that a flight ticket name matches your passport. Also, if you are driving to the states, the border only cares about your passport so it doesn’t matter if that name is different from your DL. When mine expires next year I will renew with my married name.

Honestly changing my name on all of my documentation wasn’t thaaaaat bad. I think it would be harder to have it changed on some things and not others, and then have to remember which things have which name.

Post # 5
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@Pinkmoon:  As the previous poster said there is a difference between changing your name and assuming a name. 

If you choose to assume a name it’s a total switch, you can’t just use it on some ID but not others. I’m not sure if they put an actual timeline on that or not.

Guess this means I have to give up my old red health card (Ontario) and get the new photo ones!

Post # 6
243 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

@Pinkmoon:  So you are planning on changing your last name?  If so what things do you want changed to your new name.

I’m in Manitoba and its considered a legal name change IF you decide to change your name.  The marriage certificate is what gives you the ability to change it without going through a formal legal name change process BUT once you do, if you want to change it back you either have to have a divorce certificate or go through the normal legal name change process through the courts.  Not sure if its the same in Alberta but when I checked with vital stats they told me I was only allowed to have one “legal” identity in Manitoba.

They also gave me a link to a site (when we purchased our marriage license) that tells you all the places you need to notify of your name change.  I would think Alberta gov has a similar link.

Post # 8
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@Pinkmoon:  I double checked the Service Alberta webpage and they “strongly advise” that you change all of your identification, I didn’t see anything that states you must or must have it done in a certain amount of time:

Changing to a Married Name

  • If you choose to assume your spouse’s last name (or create a combined last name), it is strongly advised that you change all your identification to reflect the new last name.
  • To change your name on your different pieces of identification, contact each organization and ask what they require to make the change. Most will want to see your marriage certificate; this can be purchased at a registry agent office or through Registry Connect; see Ordering a Marriage Document for details.
  • Contact all the organizations for which you have identification and/or accounts until all have been updated.

Post # 9
1060 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

@something_orange:  I was so sad to give up that red and white one. Thumbs down to renewal fees 🙁

@Pinkmoon:  Another thing to think about. You are planning to change your name, and are obviously in this marriage until you are both a cute old couple that holds hands in the park. So, 20, 30, 40 years from now are you ok with having some IDs and bank accounts in your maiden name because you couldn’t be bothered to do it now? Lol, I think it is short term pain for long term gain in this situation. And actually like pp mentioned, I don’t think you can pick and choose what you change and what you don’t (For all of the major stuff anyways)

Post # 11
10453 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

@Pinkmoon:  I quickly looked at the other responses and I think I’m giving new info.

In Alberta, a legal name change means that you actually change the name on your birth certificate.  There is a fee to legally change your name.

Assuming a name is what’s typically done if someone changes their name after getting married, whether it’s taking their husband’s last name, hyphenating, etc.  It is recommended you switch all your ID.  There isn’t a fee for assuming the name, but there are fees with some of the new ID.  You can revert back to your legal last name whenever you wish.


Post # 12
1022 posts
Bumble bee

As far as I know it is an ‘all or nothing’ kind of thing. You can’t be running around the place with two different names all over things. Your credit card isn’t under one name and your driver’s licence another, it just doesn’t make sense.

I had to haul a copy of my marriage certificate everywhere that I went to change my name, bank, health card, cell phone company, driver’s licence, insurance, health benefits, work related (pay stubs, work insurance), dorctor’s office. For your passport you just apply like you would if you had never had a passport.

There are still things that I need to change (a year and ahalf later) because I didn’t think of my safeway club card, or library card, but I do those little ones as I remember, thankfully they are just a matter of calling some number.

Post # 13
227 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2014

I’m in Vancouver and I looked it up and you pretty much do have to change everything even though you are just “assuming” your husband’s name.  It’s only an OFFICIAL NAME CHANGE when you actually  CHANGE your name completely like hyphenating your name or combining your last names together or something.

I would have to change my drivers licence, SIN card, care card, passport, banks, credit cards, cellphone company, any other bills with your name on it. 

Bottom line is you do have to change a bunch of things but you really don’t have to do it right away.  I would take my time with it because it IS a LOT of work in having everything changed.  Change the big important stuff first then work your way through it.

Post # 14
9859 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Pinkmoon:  the rules are different by province – I used to work at a bank call centre so I’ve been through this process with many people.

It’s NOT a legal name change – it’s a different process.  When you get married there is still record of the maiden name,  a legal name change is when you want to get rid of an old identity and a new birth certificate is issued.

You should change everything.  Having things in different names can cause you problems with CRA and confusion, as a person who goes by their middle name and has items (DL, SIN, Passport & Health Card) in their full legal name and other (credit & debit cards) in their given name (middle name) it’s a complete and total PITA.  

If you want to take your FI’s name, you should change it all – you usually have to get the official marriage certificate first, then change the license & sin and then do your banking and credit 🙂

Post # 15
564 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016


You change everything except your birth certificate as far as I know.

Haven’t done it yet myself, but I’ve had a couple friends go through the process.

Post # 16
3195 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2010


Love the way you are marrying on Valentine’s Day. So romantic!

Legal name change is changing all of your ID, credit cards, bills and banking info, including your birth certificate.

Canadian wives who take their husband’s name usually just assume it, which means changing all of your ID, the aformentioned other info and leaving your birth certificate with your maiden name.

All you need is your marriage certificate as proof, when you go change your name on your ID. 

I assumed my husband’s name. I kept the name I was born with on my birth certificate. 

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