Residents >> Life Events and Marriage

Marriage & Change of Name Act

After the marriage ceremony, there are three options either spouse may consider in regards to retaining, assuming, or legally changing his/her last name.

Option 1: Continue to use his/her last name

Under this course of action, the spouse who wishes to keep his/her current last name needs to take no action. Ontario law does NOT require a spouse to change his/her last name upon marriage.

Option 2: Assume the use of the Spouse’s last name

An assumed name is a name which a person uses or adopts although it is not their legal name. It is not against the law to simply use another name, provided it is not for fraudulent purposes. Upon marriage, a person may choose to “assume” the last name of his/her spouse and use it. Most government organizations, credit card firms, etc will accept a copy of the marriage certificate issued by the Office of the Registrar General as proof of marriage, and issue revised identification. With this option, your birth certificate remains in your maiden or birth name.

Option 3: Legally Change His/Her last name

A legal name is the name by which the person is entitled to be recognized for the purposes of Ontario law. Either spouse can use the spousal elections provisions to legally change their last name to what his/her spouse’s last name was before marriage or a hyphenated or combined last name incorporating the last name of both spouses. In this instance, a person will elect the option under the Change of Name Act, complete the appropriate forms and submit them to the Office of the Registrar General. The office will amend the person’s birth registration, replacing his/her last name on the record with his/her new last name, retaining the name at birth in brackets.

If the person is born in Ontario, the birth registration is noted, and a birth certificate in the new name is issued, as well as a change of name certificate. If this is done within 90 days of marriage, there is no charge, otherwise a fee is charged.