MPP McDonell Tables Motion to Make Life Easier for Ontarians Applying for ID

June 8, 2016

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Jim McDonell (PC Critic – Government & Consumer Services) tabled a motion in the Legislature today asking the Government to reverse course on recent policy changes that resulted in many Ontarians having unwanted names printed on their provincial ID documents such as health cards.


“Many Ontarians go by a name other than their official registered first name” MPP McDonell stated. “A person’s additional names often honour family history, cultural heritage or religious beliefs and are recorded on their birth certificate in full. Residents used to be able to pick which of those names appeared on their ID – usually the name they had chosen to go by in their daily lives.  Recent changes at Service Ontario, however, mean that people’s health cards and other documentation have to display all names in the exact order they appear on the birth certificate, regardless of the person’s wishes. This is an inconvenience, especially for seniors who must remember to respond to their actual first name rather than the name they have always been known by and had always had on their ID documents. As an example, constituents may miss clinic appointments because they were called by a name they had never used in their lives.”


Previously, Passport Canada used to issue passports in accordance with a person’s wishes as long as the chosen names appeared on the birth certificate. Passport Canada also used to allow bracketed nicknames to appear alongside the holder’s names. A rule change now demands the passport reflect the person’s name as it appears on the supporting ID, usually a provincial health card.


“If you have always gone by one of your middle names or a nickname supported by official records, the Ontario Government should be able to accommodate you” MPP McDonell commented. “Our office has seen an increase in constituents, especially seniors, being told they need to apply for a legal name change – a lengthy process that costs $137. In our riding, nicknames were used to identify you as many families used a limited number of common names.  Many new Canadians choose to use common nicknames as they integrate into one of the official languages.  It’s something that just makes sense, and has been accommodated previously by Passport Canada.”


The Ontario Government recently amended the acts related to vital statistics to reflect the reality that many First Nations use single-word names, rather than a combination of first and last names. MPP McDonell encourages the Government to show the same understanding for all Ontarians facing the predicament of not being able to use their true name or names on provincial ID.


“Our name is a fundamental part of our identity” MPP McDonell concluded. “If it is one of our registered names at birth, or if we can prove we’ve always gone by it, we should be able to use it and to place it first on our identity documents.”