dennis s. hurddennis s. hurd

Thursday, August 26, 2021

What's in a Name?

We arrived in Canada 25 years ago. And just two years after, Jay was granted Canadian citizenship at a ceremony in Surrey.  At the time, we didn't pay much attention to the fact his actual citizenship documents did not have his name correctly entered. The name appears different than even his landed immigrant paperwork.  His last name was missing, so his name appears as though his middle name is his last.   

Yet, on every form, for absolutely everything ever done here, he has used his correct first-middle-last.  So this means jobs, taxes, housing, banking ... well ... everything.  

(I won't even touch on the subject of why this is difficult in many cultures because of naming conventions. Only in limited parts of the world, such as here, do parents assign two names at birth.  In many locations, using some form of paternal lineage forms at least one name and sometimes many!) 

Anyway, the error never really caused much trouble, except that a few decades ago he needed to do a bit of special paperwork to get the proper first-middle-last names on his first Canadian passport.  Then, around six or seven, the British Columbian Medical Service Plan number ceased being a separate card and simply started being included on provincial drivers' licenses. As Jay doesn't drive, he must get a BC Services Card issued at the same, sort of, DMV/car insurance, provincial entity.
  Sort of Our DMV, But More 
For folks not born in a country, immigration documents become the most basic form of ID. So, although Jay used his passport to get his BC Services Card five years ago, the system has caught up and discovered there's no one in the province with that legal name. 

ICBC is obliged to use the exact names printed on one's birth certificate or a person's immigration documents. Therefore, Jay got a notice to visit an office to prevent identity fraud.  We went today and discovered he will have to go through a legal name change in order to get ownership of this real first-middle-last name.  This will involve fingerprints for a criminal records check and an official form and documentation handed over to the province of British Columbia.  

I'm glad we are retired and have a lot of extra time to correct errors made two and a half decades ago!


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