News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

June 7, 2023

Manitoba Government Waives Fees to Help Residential School Survivors Reclaim Traditional Names

The Manitoba government’s Vital Statistics Branch will indefinitely waive fees related to legal name changes to help residential school, Federal Indian Day School and ‘60s Scoop survivors and their families reclaim their traditional names, Consumer Protection and Government Services Minister James Teitsma and Indigenous Reconciliation and Northern Relations Minister Eileen Clarke announced today.

“At birth, these children were given names that connected them to their rich Indigenous cultures, only to have those names taken away when they entered the residential school system,” said Teitsma. “This change will allow those affected to proudly reclaim that important link to their families and heritage at no cost.”

The Manitoba government is making this change in response to the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in keeping with its commitment to reconciliation, Teitsma said. The commission’s Call to Action No. 17 is for governments to waive administrative fees for five years for residential school survivors and their families if they reclaim names changed by the residential school system.

The Vital Statistics Branch will waive the fees indefinitely and engage with Indigenous-led organizations to develop a simplified and trauma-informed application process and forms specific to residential school, Federal Indian Day School and ‘60s Scoop survivors, Teitsma noted.

“Helping to reconnect residential school survivors and their families with their traditional names is an important step in moving reconciliation forward,” said Clarke. “Our government’s commitment to progress on the Calls to Action remains steadfast and we are proud to have a role in advancing Call No. 17.”

The waiving of the fees follows amendments to Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Act to expand the parameters of name registration to include a wider range of characters and names in recognition of traditional Indigenous cultures and other cultures and languages. This allows additional characters and provides an option of single names in accordance with cultural practices.

As well, to respond to the commission’s Call to Action No. 71, the Vital Statistics Branch finalized an agreement earlier this spring to share records, including death records of Indigenous children who attended residential schools in Manitoba, with the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.

Teitsma noted he will follow up by urging the federal government to quickly recognize such name changes and the use of traditional Indigenous characters in legal names on federally issued documents such as passports.

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