The Vital Statistics Act allows government to register and collect information about life events, such as births, marriages, adoptions and deaths, essential for legal documents, such as birth certificates, that are used to verify identity.
Extensive amendments were introduced today. Key ones include:
- Provide individuals who do not identify as male (M) or female (F) a marker such as “X” on vital records. This change would take effect when the federal government after regulatory development and makes a similar change, to align legal documents (e.g. provincial birth certificates) with federal documents, such as passports.
- Remove the outdated requirement for proof-of-sex re-assignment surgery to change one’s sex on vital records.
- Expand the list of professionals who may confirm an applicant’s affidavit for change of sex to include registered social workers, nurse practitioners and registered nurses.
- Clarify that parents may choose any last name they want for their child and allow parents to change their child’s last name without the need for costly and complex processes. This would also let parents embrace traditional and cultural naming conventions, for example, placing the family name before the given name.
- Remove the requirement to publish legal change of name in the Alberta Gazette.
- Remove the requirement to provide a reason for requesting a legal change of name.
- Make it easier for individuals born outside Canada to change their name, by allowing more documents to be accepted as proof (currently only permanent resident or citizenship cards are accepted).
- Increase the age when a child’s given name may be amended without supporting documentation (from 10 years to 12 years), for a less complex alternative to a legal change of name.
Online birth registration:
- The Act would pave the way for parents to register a birth conveniently online, when and where they wish.
- Removes the requirement for parents to name a stillborn child to register the stillbirth.
- Give parents the ability to change or omit a given name for a stillborn child.
- Midwives would be recognized officially in legislation and specifically added to the list of professionals who may register a birth.
- Amend the Marriage Act to remove the requirement for a physician to certify that a represented adult has the capacity to marry. Give guardians more time (from 14 days to 30 days) to intervene in cases where they feel a represented adult should not marry.
Registration of Marriage:
- Enable a future online marriage registration service for officiants.
- Provide clear instructions for dealing with court-ordered annulments.
- Remove Service Alberta from involvement where remains cannot be identified and cause of death is not known.
- Allow government to provide commemorative certificates for birth, stillbirth, marriage legal change of name and death events.
- Simplify consent requirements regarding a legal change of name for a minor.
Privacy and Security:
- Increase privacy for all Albertans by restricting who may search for vital records, such as registration of birth, stillbirth, marriage or death.
- Clarify the Registrar’s authority to seal and protect information of vulnerable people, such as in cases of family violence or witness protection program.
Release of Information:
- Allow sharing of pre-adoption information with other Canadian post-adoption registries, making it easier for people to access their original birth records.
Provincial Archives and Historical Records:
- Clarify and expand the transfer of historical records, such as birth registrations, to the Provincial Archives of Alberta for genealogical or historical research.
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