A birth certificate is essential to establish a person’s legal identity. A birth certificate is required to apply for other documents such as passports and health cards and driver’s licences. It is required to access health and social programs, and benefits such as financial assistance and pensions.
There are three types of birth certificates:
- Birth Certificate with the only the individual’s information (short form)
- Birth Certificate with Parental Information (this is new)
- Certified Copy of Birth Registration (long form), when more detailed information is required, such as when applying for status or immigration.
The information needed to secure a birth certificate is comprehensive. For an individual to secure a birth certificate, the following information must be provided:
- First, middle and last name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Weight at birth
- Siblings born before the person named on the birth certificate
- Hospital where the birth occurred
- Who attended the birth (Doctor, Midwife)
If both parents are included in the birth certificate, the following will be needed for the mother and father:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Place of birth
- Age at the time of the birth of the child
- Any other names used
The mother’s address and marital status are needed though not required of the father. It is very important to have the information of both parents included in the birth certificate when more detailed information is required, such as when applying for status or immigration.
A guarantor is also needed to certify the information provided when applying for a birth certificate. The guarantor first and last name, profession, address and phone number is required. A guarantor is a Canadian who has known the applicant for at least two years. To qualify as a guarantor the individual should be serving as a legal or political officer, or educational institution (such as RCMP, OPP, First Nation police, mayor or band chief, notary public, principal or vice principal or school administrator etc.) or be part of a registered college (such as physician, nurse, social worker, nurse practitioner, dentist, accountant, engineer, teacher, etc.).
It is likely easiest to apply for a birth certificate when registering a child’s birth. Every child born in Ontario must be registered with the Ontario Office of the Registrar General within 30 days of being born. 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
- Submit the information for 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
Polymer birth certificates were introduced in Ontario in April 2015 and feature more than 20 embedded visible and invisible security features similar to our Canadian currency to prevent identity theft and fraud. The new material is more durable and should last the owner’s lifetime. The new birth certificate is 12.5 centimeters wide and 17.6 centimeters high. The bigger size makes it impossible to carry in a wallet. Birth certificates do not expire if in they are in good condition. Birth certificates issued prior to the polymer version should still be valid. However, if laminated, the new polymer birth certificate will become invalid.
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 card or INTERAC Online.
The NorWest Community Health Centres is offering regular ID Clinics run by volunteers for individuals who need assistance to apply for their birth certificate. To find out about an upcoming ID Clinic, call Alanah at 626-8483 or visit www.norwestchc.org.Alanah Vermaire is a Community Health Worker at the NorWest Community Health Centres.
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