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Name Changes

In Saskatchewan the Change of Name Act, 1995 provides the framework for legally changing your own name or the name of your child. When you marry, divorce or are widowed, you can change your surname by election, meaning you can simply choose to use a different last name. In all other cases you must apply for a name change.

Applying for a Name Change

If you are 18 and you are a Saskatchewan resident who has lived here for at least three months of the last year you can apply to change your first, middle or last name. You contact eHealth to apply for a change of name. The forms for changing your name are not available online.

All names must be written in the Roman alphabet. Generally speaking applications will be accepted if you meet all the requirements and pay the required fees.

The requested name change cannot be for fraudulent purposes, such as avoiding debt collection. You must be legally entitled to remain in Canada. A name change can also be rejected if it would be confusing, embarrassing or otherwise objectionable.

It is an offence to obtain a change of name by making a false or misleading statement. The punishment can be as much as a $50,000 fine or two years imprisonment or both.

Notification of Spouse

You do not need your spouse's consent to apply to change your own name, but must prove that they were given notice if you are making an application to change your name to something other than a name you can simply elect to use. If you are no longer living together, but still married, you may attach an affidavit indicating that you are living separate and apart from each other instead of giving notice to them.

You can also apply to change the name of your spouse at the same time that you apply to change your own name. Your spouse's consent is required in this case.

Parents, or others, who are the legal custodian of a child can apply to change the child's first, middle or last name. Every other legal custodian of the child must also consent in writing.

If parents have lived together since the birth of their child they are both legal custodians unless there is a court order or agreement giving one of them sole custody. If parents have not lived together since the birth of their child, the parent the child lives with is the only legal custodian unless there is an agreement or court order that changes this.

If the child is 14 years of age or older they must also provide their written consent. You can apply to change the name of your child at the same time that you apply to change your name or at any other time.

Application Process

Application forms are available from eHealth. Completed application forms must be signed and witnessed. You must also complete an affidavit of bona fides to accompany the application. This means that you must swear and sign a statement saying that you are not changing your name for fraudulent or unlawful purposes.

The statement must be signed before a Notary Public, Justice of the Peace or Commissioner for Oaths for Saskatchewan. A Notary Public or a Commissioner for Oaths can be located through the yellow pages of a phone book or an online directory. Once completed, forms can be submitted in person or by mail to eHealth.

Additional information or documentation may be required in order to determine whether to register the application. Be sure to include any required documentation and payment of fees. Supporting documentation varies from situation to situation and may include things such as Birth Certificates or other proof of age, health cards or other proof of residency, marriage or death certificates and consents. Complete information about what is required is available from eHealth.

After Changing

If your application meets all the requirements your new name will be registered and you will receive a Certificate of Change of Name. By law, most name changes are published in the Saskatchewan Gazette, which is available to the public. Your fees will have included a charge for this advertisement. In very rare circumstances the publishing may not be required, but this is very rare.

If you were born in Saskatchewan, you can obtain a new Birth Certificate once your change of name has been registered. Application forms are available online or by contacting eHealth Saskatchewan.

Arrangements should be made to change your name on all business documents, such as bank accounts, health card and driver's licence. A copy of the Certificate of Change of Name should be sent with each request or notice of name change. Some agencies and institutions may charge a fee for issuing documentation in a new name.

If you were born in another province you must apply to that province for a new Birth Certificate. Your Certificate of Change of Name will assist with this. Please note that Quebec does not recognize Saskatchewan Certificates of Change of Name.

Name Change by Election

Spouses

Spouses have a choice about the last name they will be known by. Spouses include people who are married and people who are considered common law spouses. In most cases couples that live together as spouses for at least two years will be recognized as common law spouses and may be recognized as common law spouses sooner if they have a child together.

Spouses can change their last name by election and choose to use...

  • the last name they were given at birth
  • the last name they were using immediately before their current spousal relationship, or
  • their spouse's last name, provided that their spouse is using their birth name or the name they were using immediately before entering the spousal relationship

Spouses may also elect to use a double surname consisting of both spouses' surnames. Double surnames cannot contain more than two components. Double surnames may be hyphenated or not (Smith-Jones or Smith Jones) and may be used by one or both spouses. If both spouses choose to use a double surname they must use the same components but may combine them in a different order (Smith-Jones; Jones-Smith).

Married spouses can change their name by election once a Registration of Marriage is registered with eHealth Saskatchewan. Common-law spouses may elect to use their spouse's last name provided that they have filed a Declaration with eHealth that confirms their relationship. Declaration forms must be obtained from eHealth and must be signed by both spouses. There is a fee for the Declaration form.

There is no application process or fee for changing your last name by election. Individuals who change their name as a result of a spousal relationship can change their name back to one of the above choices at any time. Spouses wishing to change their name to something other than the above choices must make an application for a change of name and pay the required fees.

Separating, Divorcing or Widowed Spouses

When a spousal relationship ends a former spouse may elect to use...

  • the last name they were given at birth
  • the last name they were using at the time the relationship ended, or
  • the last name they were using immediately before entering into the relationship

Common-law couples must file a declaration indicating that the relationship has ended in order to continue to use or change a last name by election.

Birth Records & Identification

Changing a last name by election does not change your name on your Birth Registration or your Birth Certificate. Individuals who have elected to change their last name may also wish to change their last name on things such as bank accounts, health cards and drivers' licences. Agencies involved may require proof of the relationship and may also charge a fee for issuing documents with a changed last name.

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