News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 17, 2022

Manitoba Government Introduces Legislation to Expand Types of Characters and Names Available for Registration with Vital Statistics

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Amendment Would Enable Indigenous Cultures, Other Cultures to be Reflected in Names on Identity Records: Helwer

The Manitoba government has introduced an amendment to the Vital Statistics Act to expand the parameters of name registration to include a wider range of characters and names in recognition of traditional Indigenous and other cultures and languages, Labour, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister Reg Helwer announced today.

“We are allowing parents and families a more efficient inclusion of names and characters because name recognition is a vital aspect of cultural survival,” said Helwer. “This amendment modernizes the Vital Statistics Act to better meet the needs of residential school and ‘60s Scoop survivors seeking to reclaim their birth names, and assists Indigenous families and other families who are giving the next generation traditional names that connect them to their cultures.”

The Vital Statistics Amendment Act would establish additional characters and provide the option of single names in accordance with cultural practices. The amendment would include the addition of diacritics used in languages other than English and French, as well as an expanded list of alphabetic letters such as colons.

“Throughout the residential school period, it was common for institutions to rename children when they were enrolled, erasing traditional Indigenous names to cut the ties a child had with their cultural identity and family,” said Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Alan Lagimodiere. “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada called upon governments to enable survivors to reclaim their birth names. This change would allow us to take the first step toward implementing call to action No. 17 by expanding the accepted characters and naming conventions in Manitoba name registrations to better reflect traditional Indigenous names.”

The amendment would also include a more streamlined process in which additional characters may be added in the future through regulation.

The proposed changes would apply to name registrations for newborns and for legal change of name applications.

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