Becoming an Ontarian
Every child born in Ontario must be registered with the Ontario Office of the Registrar General within 30 days of being born. Registering a birth will allow other identification documents to be produced, such as Ontario Health Cards, Social Insurance Number and Birth Certificates.
In Ontario, registering a birth is a two-step process. The health care providers at the hospital or facility where the baby is born will generate a unique identifier by submitting a Notice of Live Birth form. The parent or parents complete a Statement of Live Birth form. The birth registration is complete by the matching of these two forms.
There is an online Automated Benefits Application service offered by Service Ontario and the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).The 5-in-1 Newborn Bundle allows parents to:
- Register the birth of their child
- Request a birth certificate
- Request a Social Insurance Number or SIN
- Apply for Canada Child Benefits and other credits
- Get information on educational savings or benefits
Parents can use the 5-in-1 Newborn Bundle if their child is born in Ontario, has not been registered before and is under 12 months of age. Documents processed with the online Newborn Bundle application may be received within 6 to 8 weeks, while paper applications may take 2 to 4 months for processing. The online service is promoted and quick and easy to use, and facilitates quicker access to eligible benefits.
Registering a child’s birth is essential to securing a Birth Certificate, which establishes the child’s legal identity.There are three types of birth certificates:
- Long form with parental information
Short form, with the only the individual’s information
- Certified birth registration, when more detailed information is required, such as when applying for status or immigration.
A Birth Certificate is required to apply for other documents such as passports and health cards and driver’s licences.A Birth Certificate is required to access health and social programs, and benefits such as financial assistance and pensions.
The Social Insurance Number or SIN is a unique sequence of 9 numbers issued to every Canadian allowing them access to government benefits and programs. It allows the individual to work in Canada, pay tax on income and access Canada Pension Plan benefits. By law, employers are required to ask new employees for their SIN.
Once the mother has applied for Child Benefits in the Newborn Bundle, payments could begin within 80 calendar days
Educational Savings & Benefits
One of the options in the Newborn Bundle is to facilitate access to savings options and information to help cover the costs of educating their child. Children form low income families qualify for the Canada Learning Bond, where the government contributes an initial deposit of $500, and $100 annually to a maximum of $2,000 without requiring any contribution from the parents. Regardless of income, families contributing up to $2,500 annually to a Registered Education Savings Plans or RESPswhile their child is younger than 17 will get a government contribution of 20%.
The 5-in-1 online Newborn Bundle options are not available when registering the birth of a child is twelve months or older.The parents or caregivers will have to complete a delayed registration for a fee.
To have both parents included in the birth registration, both parents must be present to certify the birth online though paper forms can also be used when both parents are available. Paper forms are required for children with more than two individuals qualifying as parents, or where “mother”, “father” or “parents” do not adequately describe the family unit.
All but one of the Newborn Bundle services is free of charge. There is a fee for requesting a birth certificate, which varies depending on which of the three types is required. Payment needs to be made online using a credit or INTERAC Online.
Anita Jean is Manager of Health and Social Programs at NorWest Community Health Centres.
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