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Canadian Birth Certificate FAQ

When a child is born in Canada, its parents must register the birth and apply for a birth certificate. This must be done in the province where the child was born. For more information you must consult the registrars in the relevant province. A list of registrars in each province can be found at the Service Canada website.

Who issues birth certificates in Canada?

Birth certificates can only be issued by the provincial government. They are not issued or recorded federally, as they are in many other countries.

How do I obtain a Canadian birth certificate?

You must apply to the province or territory that you or the person whose birth certificate you require, was born in.

Where can I find the relevant provincial authority to issue my birth certificate?

You should visit the Service Canada website. Here you will find links to each provincial agency responsible for issuing birth certificates in Canada.

Can anyone obtain a Birth Certificate?

No. You can only apply for a certificate for yourself or your child or you must have authorization from the person whose certificate you wish to obtain. Otherwise you must satisfy the Vital Statistics officer of your intentions when applying for someone else’s birth certificate.

I have lost my Birth Certificate. Do I need to replace it?

A birth certificate is not essential but it is advisable to have one. It can be used to prove your nationality and age amongst other things. You can use a birth certificate to obtain many other forms of ID in Canada e.g. if you are applying for a first time Canadian passport or a social insurance number.

Can I exclude my parents name from my Birth Certificate?

Yes. In certain provinces like Alberta, you can get a short form birth certificate without the names of your parents on the document.

Can I make an amendment to my child’s birth certificate?

Yes. You can apply to the registrars in the province where your child was born to make an amendment e.g. to correct a mistake on the original certificate or to add the father’s name.

What is the difference between a short-form and a long-form birth certificate?

A long-form birth certificate contains more information than a short-form and is larger in size because of this. Whilst a short form birth certificate is a valid legal document, most government agencies prefer to accept the long-form birth certificate as identification as it contains more information concerning your identity.

Can I laminate my birth certificate?

You cannot laminate your birth certificate yourself because it will render it invalid. However some provinces, like Ontario, used to laminate certificates before the 1980s, and providing the provincial government laminated the document it remains valid. Today many provinces now issue laminated wallet sized birth certificates.

Can I travel to the United States using only my birth certificate?

No. This used to be possible but under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a Canadian birth certificate is no longer considered valid proof of identity when traveling between Canada and the United States. Children in school parties can still use their birth certificates, but anyone else planning to cross the border must have a valid travel document like a Canadian passport, enhanced driver’s licence or a NEXUS card.

Is ordering my birth certificate the only way of applying and paying for it?

Yes, most provinces now allow you to do this online.

Where can I apply for a Birth Certificate in Ontario?

Please visit the provincial Web site of your province of birth for details about application procedures:

How long is it taking to get your Birth certificate back. We have laminated and can not get a passport? Is that correct?

Passport Canada will not accept birth certificate laminated by anyone other than the province which issued it. If you were born before the 1980s, it is possible it was laminated by the province of your birth. If it says “void if laminated” on the back, you need to contact the Vital Statistics office of the province where you were born and request a duplicate.

The average time-frame to receive your certificate is 15-20 business days.

I would like to ask about including my husband’s name in our baby’s (four months old) birth certificate which issued in BC Canada. Which form I have to take? Should my husband need to take DNA test? Which certificate has to submit for proving that is my husband?

As a resident of British Columbia you can use the Newborn Registration Service to complete your child's birth registration and apply for your child's Social Insurance Number and Birth Certificate.

For paid assistance with acquiring your Canadian birth certificate
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