Name Change Guide

It can be confusing to navigate the multitude of government agencies to start using your chosen name and your gender in legal settings. But fear not! This guide will help you through the process and includes instructions for changing a wide array of documents.

A plain language version of this guide is also available.

Disclaimer

Please note that this is a guide only that’s intended for individuals over 18.

This guide is not definitive and not guaranteed to be continually accurate. This document was researched and compiled July 2021.

If you know any information here to be false or outdated, please contact us so we can correct it. This is not legal advice. If you need legal advice and can’t afford to speak to a lawyer, please contact any of these free legal clinics in Saskatchewan.

Despite this guide, going through the name change process and changing your gender marker can still be frustrating and confusing. Please reach out to us if you have questions, are confused about anything, or need more information.

Things you can do right now, if you want!

  1. You can change your gender marker to X on any Saskatchewan Driver’s License or Identity Card by going to your nearest license issuer and requesting it! It costs $15 to replace your license. (If you are changing your name, you may want to wait until that’s done to save a trip and another $15)
  2. You can change your gender marker on your Canadian Passport or Travel Documents, using this gender amendment form and applying for a new passport using the Passport Application process on the Canadian Government’s website. Or applying for new travel documents using the Travel Document Application process on the government website.
    It costs $160 to apply for a new Passport or Travel Documents, so you may want to wait if you are also changing your name.
  3. You can change your gender marker to F, M, or X on your Indian Status Card (aka Secure Certificate of Indian Status) by filling in the Secure Certificate of Indian Status Application, taking some passport photos, and sending it in! Passport photos usually cost about $20. (If you are changing your name, you may want to wait until that’s done to save on postage)
  4. At the University of Regina, you can go by your “Preferred Name” that will appear on some (but not all) records and processes.
  5. At the University of Saskatchewan, you can use the PAWS system to go by a “Preferred Name.”

Find out who can get a name change.

The requirements according to eHealth Saskatchewan are:

  • 18 or older
  • Resident of Saskatchewan for at least 3 consecutive months in the 12-month period preceding your application. (AKA: Did you live in Saskatchewan for 3 months in a row in the past year?)
  • Have a valid Saskatchewan Health Card
  • Are “legally entitled to remain in Canada on a permanent basis” (AKA: Were you born in Canada? Are you a Landed Immigrant? Have you been granted authorization to live and work in Canada on a permanent basis?)

Start the Name Change / Gender Marker Change Process

1. Change ID with country of birth (if applicable)

For those born outside of Canada, in some cases, it may be easier to change your IDs and Birth Certificate in your country of birth first. We have created a table of the gender marker and name changes processes in some other countries for easy reference. If your birth country doesn’t allow changes to names or gender markers, that’s okay! You can still change your information in Canada.

2. Contact Vital Statistics

Email eHealth and ask for the Name Change Application. They will email you to ask for:

  • Your full name
  • Your SK Health Card number
  • Your full mailing address
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number

Then they will mail you the application. You can look at the Name Change Application Form before yours arrives on our website!

3. Complete the Name Change Application

When it arrives, fill out the Name Change Application. Make sure to read the instructions! You must use blue or black ink.

The cost is about $125. (You can use Cheque, Money Order, Visa, Mastercard or Debit/Cash at office).

You will also need to have it signed by a notary, which is just a person authorized to approve important documents and contracts.

If you are in or can get to Regina or Saskatoon, you can access the Trans Health Navigators who can act as a notary for free! Notaries usually charge $20-$25 to sign these forms.

Publication Exemptions

In the application form they will request the reason for your Name Change. In this spot you can request a publication exemption/public interest waiver (which will stop your dead name from being published alongside your new name in the publicly available Saskatchewan Gazette). You can also include a note requesting the exemption.

The exemption will have to be approved by the Vital Statistics Legal Department. According to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association website, the legal grounds you can claim are: “you will be unduly prejudiced, embarrassed, or harmed by the publication. It will cause undue hardship. And the publication is not in the public interest.”

IDs From Different Countries

Hold up! If you were born outside of Canada or have dual citizenship, you have some decisions to make!

If you have ID documents from another country that do not match your Canadian ID documents, it could potentially cause you a lot of problems. There have been cases of people having two different names and two different genders on their passports and had them confiscated or been denied re-entry. 

Please talk to an Immigration expert or your Embassy to really understand your options. Every situation is different with their own complexities, so we cannot offer any real advice here. We are not lawyers and the information we have compiled does not count as legal advice. The decision is ultimately up to you. Please consider it carefully!

We have been compiling a table of countries who allow (or don’t allow) changes to important national ID documents. (We cannot guarantee it is 100% accurate. Please always do your own research, as every situation will be different. If you have a different current experience that makes this table misleading or you have better information, please let us know so we can make changes as necessary!).

4. Complete the Change of Sex Designation

Fill out the Change of Sex Designation on Birth Certificate and Health Card form if you were born in Saskatchewan. Or if you were born outside of Saskatchewan, use the Change of Sex Designation on Birth Certificate and Health Card form – born outside SK.

It costs $20 to change your gender marker, and $35-$55 if you need a copy of your birth certificate and/or live birth registry.

If you were born outside of Saskatchewan, you will need to change your gender marker on your original birth certificate first or follow the instructions in the form.

If you were born in Saskatchewan but are now living outside of Saskatchewan, use the Application for Change of Sex Designation on Saskatchewan Birth Certificate form.

Physician/Psychologist Letter

You will need a signature from a physician or psychologist in order to change your gender marker. You can access the Trans Health Navigators if you need help finding a trans-friendly physician or psychologist to sign your form and they can also act as a notary! <3

Avid Travellers

If you are an avid traveller and are requesting an X gender marker, please be aware that the Canadian Government has stated that they cannot guarantee you will be able to enter all countries, as all entry points may deny entry for any number of reasons.

As of June 2021, only a handful of countries legally recognize the X gender marker on passports and even if they do, there’s no guarantee the border staff will allow you entry.

Always check the status of LGBTQ rights in any country you’re planning to travel to, as some countries are dangerous for queer and trans people and you could be outed on arrival. (Countries currently recognizing X gender markers include: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the USA).

5. Criminal Record Check

It is very important that you have the rest of your paperwork ready to go before you go for your Criminal Record Check because it expires in 14 days!

It costs $45 for the basic criminal record check. If you need a biometric record check (fingerprints), it will cost $85.

Please be aware that if you are on the National Sex Offender Registry (NSOR), as of 2019, your name change will likely be denied.

6. Home stretch, baby!

Once your name and gender marker have been updated. You should receive your new Health Card, Birth Certificate, and a Name Change Certificate. These three documents will come in separate envelopes.

You can now use your Name Change Certificate and updated Birth Certificate to change your other documents! The following are in order of necessity!

Driver’s License

Just walk into any SGI or License Issuer and request the change! Bring your Name Change Certificate and Birth Certificate.

If you do not have a new Birth Certificate or can’t get one, you will need to write a letter to SGI and also get your doctor/psychologist to write you an accompanying letter. More information is available on SGI’s Website.

It costs $15 to replace your license or $30 if you need a new photo.

Citizenship Certificate

You can apply for a new Citizenship Certificate using the Application for Citizenship Certificate form. If you are also changing your gender marker, submit the Request for a Change of Sex or Gender Identifier form as well!

If you have changed your name or gender marker outside of Canada, you will need to submit your foreign passport, your foreign name change document (translated into English), and a document with your new name on it issued by Canada (like your Saskatchewan Health Card or Driver’s License!).

It costs $75.

Passport

If your documents and IDs now match your desired gender marker and name, apply for a new passport using the Canadian Passport Application form. You will need your Birth Certificate OR Citizenship Certificate, and your Driver’s License, or Saskatchewan ID.

It costs $120 for a 5-year passport and $160 for a 10-year passport.

Travel Document

Apply for new Travel Documents using the Adult Travel Document Application form. You’ll need your:

  • Permanent Resident Card (it has your old name, but that should be okay if you have your Name Change Certificate!) or other proof of immigration status
  • Name Change Certificate
  • Your Driver’s License with your new name or your Health Card with your new name
  • If you’re changing your gender marker, the Request for Sex or Gender Identifier form.

It costs about $120.

Permanent Resident Card

You can apply for a new PR card with your new name using the Application for Permanent Resident Card form! You’ll need your:

  • Name Change Certificate (or the document you received from changing your name in your birth country)
  • Old PR card
  • Passport with new name/gender, or Travel Document with your new name/gender
  • Two Passport photos

To change your gender marker on your Permanent Resident Card you must also submit the Request for Change of Sex or Gender Identifier form.

It costs $50 (or $85 if you were less than 14 years old during your first PR card application on or after July 31, 2018 and are now older than 14 years old). And $20 for passport photos.

There is a lot of information about the Permanent Resident Card process available on the government site!

Sask Polytech

Use the Sask Polytech Change of Name form to change your name! You will need your Name Change Certificate. And use the Sask Polytech Change of Information form to change your gender in the records.

University of Regina

Use the University of Regina Change of Name form to change your name on legal records. You can use your Birth Certificate, your Name Change Certificate, your Driver’s License, or your Passport!

University of Saskatchewan

Use the University of Saskatchewan Change of Name form to change your name on legal records. You will need your photo ID or Passport with your accurate name on it.

Métis Nation Card

Information on updating your Métis Nation card is available on the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan website. You will need your Name Change Certificate, Saskatchewan Health Card, and your photo ID.

Indian Status Card

Use the Secure Certificate of Indian Status Application form to change your name and/or gender marker. You will need your Name Change Certificate.

Elections Canada

Check the Online Voter Registration Service to see whether your name is accurate or not. If you name is not accurate, request an Update Form by calling 1-800-463-6868 or you can update your information when you go to vote.

You will need your Driver’s License or Saskatchewan ID Card. If you don’t have one of those, you can check the Elections Canada website for other ID options.

7. The Big Stuff!

These are things you must do once you have changed your legal name! Unfortunately, the different government departments do not talk to each other, so you will have to contact them individually.

Update your Social Insurance Number (SIN) Card

You can apply online, through mail, or in person. You’ll need your:

  • Legal Name Change Certificate
  • Birth Certificate or Canadian Citizenship Certificate or Permanent Resident Card or work/study permit or other proof that you are eligible to work in Canada
  • Passport or Saskatchewan ID/Driver’s License
  • Proof of Address (AKA: a Document or “Attestation Letter” issued by the Government, or your company, or your landlord, or your employer saying you live where you live)

Physical SIN cards do not have your gender on them, however, you can request your gender be marked in their internal system/records by request. You can choose M, F, or X.

More instructions are available on the Social Insurance Number government website.

Update your Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) info

Changing Your Last Name with the CRA

If you changed both your first and last name, you cannot change your CRA info by phone. You will have to use the mail/fax method.

You can change your name by phone (if you only changed your first name) at 1 (800) 959-8281. You will need your Social Insurance Number, your full name, date of birth, complete address, and an assessed return/notice of assessment/reassessment/other tax document. 

Or update your CRA information by mail to your tax center. You will need your Name Change Certificate, your old and new names, your Social Insurance Number, and your signature.

You can access more complete information by visiting the Updating Your CRA Information on the CRA website.

8. You’re Almost Done!

All that’s left is to update your personal accounts such as Credit Cards, Bank Account, Utilities, City/Town Taxes, Insurance Policies, or anything else that might still have your old name on it!

9. That’s All We Have!

Congratulations! You deserve a party!

Troubleshooting

If you see this:

A screenshot of a document error that reads, “The document you are trying to load requires Adobe Reader 8 or higher."

This error might mean you need to update your Adobe Reader but it also shows up when your browser doesn’t know how to open this file. But it’s easy to fix!

If you use Firefox or Chrome and want an illustrated guide, you can follow along on the Adobe Website.

Or just go into your Browser Settings, look for the Applications tab and find Portable Document Format (PDF). Change the PDF’s Action to “Use Adobe Acrobat Reader” and then restart your browser and you should be good to go!