Navigating Trans & Gender-diverse Health Care

Guidance about how to connect with the information, support, and health services that are right for you.

Legal transitioning is the process of officially updating your government and identity documents to reflect your lived gender identity. Having identification documents (IDs) that match your gender identity and gender expression is an important part of being able to participate in society safely, with dignity and privacy.

Change of Name

If you want to change your legal name, you need a formal Certificate of Change of Name.

To change your name in Nova Scotia, you must have been born in Nova Scotia or lived in Nova Scotia for at least 3 months immediately before applying for a name change. If you are under 16, a parent or guardian must apply for you.

Contact Vital Statistics to request an application form:

  • In person:
    Service Nova Scotia, Vital Statistics Office,
    300 Horseshoe Lake Drive, Halifax, NS
  • By phone: 902-424-4381
  • Toll free: 1-877-848-2578
  • By email: vstat@novascotia.ca

You must provide (in English or with an official English translation):

  • All Birth Certificates issued before your change of name
  • A Birth Certificate if you were born outside Nova Scotia, but within Canada
  • For children born outside of Nova Scotia, you will need a detailed Birth Certificate, including parentage. If you are married or in a domestic partnership, your spouse/partner must consent to your name change OR you must obtain a court order dispensing with this consent
  • If you were not born in Canada, you must include your immigration documents (Record of Landing, Permanent Resident documents, Citizenship documents or passport)
  • If you were married outside of Nova Scotia, you must include your Marriage Certificate
  • If you are under 16 years old, your parent or legal guardian must make an application for you and consent to your name change

Activity Fee
Application (includes 1 Change of Name Certificate) $165.70
Amendments (changes) to records with change of name (for example, Marriage Certificate) $24.95

All name changes in Nova Scotia are registered in the Royal Gazette Part I, but you can apply to not have your name published. Attach a letter explaining why you do not want your name included in the Royal Gazette Part I.

The following reasons for not including notice of legal name change in the Royal Gazette Part I are accepted:

  • Publication would unduly prejudice or embarrass you
  • The change of name is of a minor character (i.e. Trevor to Trever; Leann to Leanne)
  • You have been commonly known under the name you are applying for

Sex Indicator/Gender Marker on NS Government ID

In Nova Scotia you can change the gender marker on your government-issued identification documents through Vital Statistics. You may change the sex indicator to M, F or X.

How you apply depends on your age:

  • A parent or guardian must be the applicant, and any other parent/guardian reflected on Birth Certificate or court documents must provide a statutory declaration documenting consent
  • A written statement from the applicant indicating that they agree with the gender identity for the change requested must be included
  • A written statement from a doctor or psychologist that confirms they have treated or evaluated the applicant must be included. The letter must: state that the doctor or psychologist acknowledges that the applicant has the capacity to make an informed decision, and confirm that the sex shown on the applicant's existing birth registration does not correspond with the applicant's gender identity
  • All Birth Certificates issued to you need to be included in your application
  • A statutory declaration confirming that you assume, identify with, and intend to keep the gender identity that corresponds with the change requested is also required

Other Legal Documents to Get After a Certificate of Change of Name

Provincial Documents

Federal Documents

Confirmation of Social Insurance Number (SIN) Letter
  • You will need a Birth Certificate or Permanent Resident/Certificate of Citizenship AND your Certificate of Change of Name
  • You can apply at the same time as changing your gender on your SIN record
  • There is no cost to change your gender marker or name on your SIN record

To change the gender marker on your SIN record, your lived gender must be reflected on your Birth Certificate or Certificate of Citizenship. You must visit a Service Canada site in person and fill out a standard SIN amendment form. You must provide the following supporting documentation:

  • Your Certificate of Change of Name
  • Court order document (only applies to minors with guardians)
  • Request to Amend the Record of Landing issued by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada or a Confirmation of Permanent Residence document. This document must be written in English or French

Take your documents to the nearest Service Canada office.

Passport

You will need a Birth Certificate/Certificate of Citizenship with updated name.

Permanent Resident Card

You will need a Certificate of Change of Name for this request. It is strongly recommended that anyone interested in changing their name on their Permanent Resident Card follow up directly with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada services to see if this will impact possible residency requirements. You can do this at the same time as changing your gender on your Permanent Resident Card.

Citizenship Certificate

If you legally changed your name in Canada, you need a Certificate of Change of Name for this request.
If you legally changed your name outside of Canada, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada services for guidance.

*You can start this process at the same time as changing your gender on your Certificate of Citizenship.