The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne is notifying the community of an update to Ontario’s process of publishing name changes. Previously, Canada updated their policies and procedures to allow for Indigenous individuals to use a single name only, and to make legal name changes to a single name without paying the normal name change fees.

On October 4, 2019, Mohawk Council received a letter from the Ontario Minister of Government & Consumer Services Lisa Thompson stating that indigenous individuals can be exempted from having their name change published.

“As of October 7, Indigenous individuals can apply for a change of name and opt not to have this published in the Ontario Gazette,” the letter reads. “It was recognized that publishing a name change was a barrier for some Indigenous individuals who view their traditional name as sacred and not something that should be shared with the broader public through publication in the Ontario Gazette. We feel that this change is in keeping with the spirit of partnership and reconciliation with Indigenous communities in Ontario and hope this will be positive news for Indigenous partners.”

Community members should be aware that they must choose the exemption from publication; it is not automatic.

For more information on how to change a name in Ontario, visit www.ontario.ca/page/change-name.