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Ontario Birth FAQs
Why do I need a Birth Certificate?

A Birth Certificate is one of the most important vital documents that any person should have and will be required at several points through a person’s life.  The general purpose a Birth Certificate serves is to identify a person.  The document tells the person's name, date of birth and where they were born.  A Birth Certificate also serves as basic proof of citizenship and is often required as identification for government services or applying for other personal documents.  Because a Birth Certificate is such a valuable document, it should always be kept in a safe place where it can be easily accessed when needed.  It is highly recommended that you do not carry your Birth Certificate in your wallet or purse as thousands of certificates are reported lost or stolen every month.

Education
A Birth Certificate is required to identify children when they enrol at a new school. This may be important when registering for kindergarten or if a family moves to a new district.

Passport
If a person desires to travel outside of the country, he must have a valid passport. Birth Certificates are required to identify the traveler in order to obtain a passport.

Social Security Card
A Birth Certificate contains the required information necessary to obtain a social security card.  If a card is lost or stolen, a certified copy of the Birth Certificate is needed to get a replacement.

Driver’s Licence
When someone wishes to be issued a driver's license, a Birth Certificate is usually one of the forms of identification required to complete the process and gain the privileges of a licensed driver.  

How long does it take for a birth to be legally registered in Ontario?

Registration takes approximately 16 weeks from the date the birth took place.  You can apply for an Ontario Birth Certificate once you receive notice that the birth has been registered with the Office of the Registrar General.

How do I order a first time Ontario Birth Certificate?

1.   Click "Select Certificate Type" or "Get It Now" button on home page.  Follow the prompts to select the proper certificate and Province/Territory you were born in.

2.   Click the "Apply Online" button.

3.   Complete the information on the Online Application which will guide you through several Steps and pay using your credit card.

4.   You will receive an order confirmation email from us within an hour.  We will then go on to process your application according to the service option you have chosen.  If there are any problems with your application, a representative will contact you via email with the required corrections.

5.   Your Birth Certificate will either arrive in the mail, or by courier, depending on the service option chosen.

How do I order a first time Ontario Birth Certificate if my child is over 1 year of age?

Every child born in Canada must be registered with their Provincial Vital Statistics agency before applying for a Birth Certificate.  If your child is more than one year of age and you have not yet registered their birth, you will need to obtain a Delayed Statement of Live Birth form.  Once the birth is registered, a Birth Certificate will be issued.  Please visit our Delayed Registration of Birth page to learn how to obtain this important document.

How do I order a replacement Ontario Birth Certificate?

You may order a replacement Birth Certificate in the same way as a first time Birth Certificate (see above).  The application is the same for both types of orders. 

How much does an Ontario Birth Certificate cost and how can I pay?

Regular Service (15-20 business days)        

Birth Certificate
First Birth Certificate:                   $75.00                      
Replacement Birth Certificate:        $85.00               

Birth Certificate with Parental Information
First Birth Certificate:                   $86.00
Replacement Birth Certificate:        $96.00         

Certified Copy of Birth Registration
First Birth Certificate:                   $87.00
Replacement Birth Certificate:        $99.00               

Search Letter (5 year period):        $64.00

Rush Service (5-10 business days)

Birth Certificate
First Birth Certificate:                   $110.00
Replacement Birth Certificate:        $120.00

Certified Copy of Birth Registration
First Birth Certificate:                   $121.00
Replacement Birth Certificate:        $131.00

Search Letter (5 year period):        $85.00

Rush service is NOT available under the following circumstances:

  • International Orders:  Rush Service is not available for delivery outside Canada.
  • Newborns:  An Ontario Birth Certificate will be issued upon completion of the birth registration.  The registration takes approximately 16 weeks from the date of birth.  Rush service is not available for newborns born within the last 16 weeks.  Please contact the Office of the Registrar General at 1-800-461-2156 (Ontario Only) or 416-325-8305 if you require a certificate for a newborn on a rush basis.
  • Births Prior to 1930:  Births prior to 1930 may not be in electronic format. When applying for an Ontario birth certificate for a birth prior to 1930, it can take up to an extra 6-8 weeks for the registration to be converted into electronic format before processing can be completed.  Therefore, rush service is not available for these births.

The only payment currently accepted is credit card (Visa and MasterCard). 

How long will it take to receive my Ontario Birth Certificate?

It will take 15-20 business days with the Regular Service options or 5-10 business days with the Rush Service option.  

How will my Ontario Birth Certificate be sent to me?

Your Birth Certificate will be sent to you directly from the Office of the Registrar General.  It will arrive in the mail with the Regular Service option, or by courier with the Rush Service option.  

How do I find the status of my Ontario Birth Certificate application?

If you are following up on the status of an already ordered certificate, as the applicant, you will need to contact the government agency directly.  They will only discuss the status of the application with the applicant.  Please contact the Office of The Registrar General:

Toll Free: 1-800-461-2156 (Ontario only)
Telephone: 416-325-8305 

You can also check the status of your application online. 


What types of Birth Certificates are available to order in Ontario?

Birth Certificate with Personal Info Only (12.5 cm x 17.6 cm):
The Personal Info Only Birth Certificate contains basic information: full name of individual, date of birth, place of birth, sex, registration number, and registration date. 

Birth Certificate with Personal Info and Parentage (12.5 cm x 17.6 cm):
The Personal Info and Parentage Birth Certificate contains all the information as stated above, plus the names of parents and birthplaces of parents (province/country only).


What is a Photocopy of Registration?

A Photocopy of Registration is a certified photocopy of the original Registration of Birth, completed at the time of birth.  It contains all the information appearing on the Registration of Birth and is usually required for legal purposes.  Photocopies are rarely needed by citizens and are, by law, for restricted use only.  They are not recommended for use as identification.  A restricted photocopy can only be issued if authorized by the Registrar General of Vital Statistics or on the order of a court.  

What if I am uncertain of my date of birth?

Birth Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Birth.  If you are not certain of the date of birth, you may order a search letter.  A search letter only states that according to the Office of the Registrar General, an event either is or is not recorded.  No actual information is provided or confirmed.  Fill out the estimated date of birth on the Birth Certificate application.  That entire year will be searched, plus two years before and after, for a total of five years.  You may also request a search of additional years, in increments of five years. 

Can I obtain an Ontario Birth Certificate for a birth that occurred a long time ago?

In Ontario, the Office of the Registrar General holds complete records from 1869, when civil registration began.  Birth records remain there until they are more than 100 years old which means they are no longer within the restricted period.

These unrestricted birth records are then transferred to the Archives of Ontario.  Due to the large demand, staff members at that office are unable to undertake genealogical searches in these vital records.  However, microfilm copies of the nominal indexes and the original registrations are available through inter-institutional loan from the Archives of Ontario and through your local Family History Library.  Should you prefer to hire someone to search through those records on your behalf, the Archives of Ontario can provide a list of researchers.  


Who is entitled to apply for an Ontario Birth Certificate?

You can apply for an Ontario Birth Certificate if you are:

  • The person whose name appears on the certificate (must be at least 13 years of age);
  • Parents of the person named on the certificate (if that person is less than 19 years of age or incapable);
  • A legal guardian of the person named on the certificate;
  • Next-of-kin, executor or estate administrator, if the person named on the certificate is deceased.
What should I do in the event that my Ontario Birth Certificate is lost or stolen?

You may complete a Declaration of Lost or Stolen Birth Certificate form.  The filing of this Declaration provides the authority for the cancellation of a certificate under Section 40.1 (2) (c) of the Vital Statistics Act.  This service is provided free of charge.

It is important to note the use of a lost or stolen Birth Certificate by another individual cannot be prevented by the Vital Statistics Agency.  However, Vital Statistics does electronically verify Birth Certificate information with programs such as ICBC.  In the event a verification request is received, Vital Statistics will notify them the certificate is invalid.

You may also wish to contact the local police to report your lost certificate in the event it has been turned in, or if you suspect you have been a victim of identity theft.  Contact RCMP PhoneBusters at 1-888-495-8501. 

If I have a French name, should I include the accents on my Ontario Birth Certificate application?

Yes.  If the birth record contains any French accents on the registered names, please ensure they are clearly displayed on the Birth Certificate application form. 

Can I exclude my parents’ names from my Ontario Birth Certificate?

Yes.  You may choose to order a Short Form Birth Certificate which excludes the names of your parents on the document. 

Can I make an amendment to an Ontario Birth Certificate?

Yes.  Occasionally birth records need to be amended, when an error has been made or for another reason, such as adding the father’s name.  Applicants may apply to correct an error to an original registration by completing a Form 23 and providing satisfactory evidence that proves the original registration was incorrect.

The application for a correction to a Birth Registration (Form 23) is not available online.  You must contact Service Ontario directly at 1-800-461-2156 for all of North America (areas outside of Toronto) or 1-416-325-8305 in the Greater Toronto Area and Internationally, to request the form.

Form 23 must be signed in the presence of a commissioner for taking affidavits for oaths.

Depending on what information is being corrected, original copies of evidence required to make the correction may include one or more of the following: 

  • Hospital record of Birth (letter from the hospital)
  • Copy of baptismal register certified by a church official or Cradle Roll certificate issued within four years of birth
  • School record of registration for early elementary years (Grades 1 – 4)
  • Canadian Record of Immigrant Landing
  • Canadian Citizenship
  • Copy of the church marriage register, certified by a church official
  • Birth Certificate of subject
  • Census record
  • Change of Name certificate (copy)
  • Copies of ID used at the time of the event

All forms, packages and evidence must be submitted with the application.  All original certificates provided as evidence will be returned to the applicant.  Copies will not be returned

Amendments to the original Birth Registration can cost $22.00 to $37.00, depending on the type of change required.  The fee for the correction does not include a new Birth Certificate once the correction has been made. 

Can I laminate my Ontario Birth Certificate?

No.  You cannot laminate your Birth Certificate yourself because it will render it invalid. However some provinces, like Ontario, used to laminate certificates before the 1980s, and providing the provincial government laminated the document it remains valid. Today many provinces now issue laminated wallet sized Birth Certificates. 

Can I travel to the United States using only my Ontario Birth Certificate?

No.  This used to be possible, but under the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, a Canadian Birth Certificate is no longer considered valid proof of identity when traveling between Canada and the United States.  Children in school parties can still use their Birth Certificates, but anyone else planning to cross the border must have a valid travel document like a Canadian passport, enhanced driver’s licence or a NEXUS card. 

What if I don’t know anybody who can serve as my Guarantor?

If you are applying for a Birth Certificate for an individual nine years of age or older you need a guarantor.

A guarantor is a Canadian citizen and someone who has known you (the applicant) personally for at least 2 years, and is currently serving in or a practicing member in good standing of a profession from this guarantor’s list:

  • Chief of a band recognized under the Indian Act (Canada)
  • Chiropractor
  • Dentist
  • First Nations police officer
  • Judge
  • Justice of the Peace
  • Lawyer
  • Mayor
  • Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario (MPP)
  • Midwife
  • Minister of religion authorized under provincial law to perform marriages
  • Municipal clerk or treasurer (a member of the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario)
  • Notary public
  • Nurse
  • Optometrist
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Police officer (Municipal, Provincial, RCMP)
  • Principal or Vice-Principal (primary or secondary school)
  • Professional accountant
  • Professional engineer
  • Psychologist
  • Senior administrator (community college or in a CEGEP)
  • Senior administrator or professor in a university
  • Signing officer of a bank, caisse d'économie, caisse populaire, credit union or trust company.
  • Social worker or social service worker
  • Surgeon
  • Teacher in a primary or secondary school
  • Veterinarian

The role of the guarantor is to certify that information provided on a Birth Certificate application is as complete and accurate as possible.  If required, a qualified guarantor must also be available to verify the information with the Office of the Registrar General.

If you do not have a valid Guarantor, please ensure that you do not fill out the Guarantor section on the application.  As an alternative, you must send the following required supporting documentation to the Office of the Registrar General:

Detailed Letter of Explanation
This letter must explain why you are requesting this birth certificate and why you cannot provide a Guarantor. The following information must be provided:

  • Your contact information including your name, mailing address and telephone number.
  • The length of time you have lived in Canada and the length of time you have lived at your place of residence.
  • The reason you are requesting a birth certificate(s).
  • How you have attempted to find a person who would qualify to be a Guarantor and why you have not been successful.
  •  You must sign and date the letter of explanation and enclose one of the following two documents:

1.   Alternate Guarantor Letter
You may provide an Alternate Guarantor letter from a person you know who is not a Canadian Citizen, but belongs to an occupation that appears on the Guarantor's occupation list and has known you for two years or more.  This letter must specify the following:

  • The Alternate Guarantor's contact information including name, address and telephone number.
  • Their knowledge of this application including whom the certificate is for, how long they have known the applicant and how they may be contacted.
  • The letter must be signed and dated by this person and sent with your Letter of Explanation.

2.   Proof of Entry into Canada
If you cannot provide a letter from an Alternate Guarantor, you may send additional evidence that supports your proof of entry into Canada. Please send a photocopy of the following documents:

  • Record of Immigrant Landing
  • Passport
Can I get a Canadian Passport without my Ontario Birth Certificate?

No.  If you were born in Canada, you need your Canadian Birth Certificate to obtain a Canadian Passport.  In extremely rare exceptions will this rule not apply.  

Is it possible for my child to travel before he is registered in Ontario?

Yes.  If your newborn is required to travel before the birth is registered, you may obtain a Temporary Confirmation of Birth Letter through the city clerks’ office in the municipality in which the baby was born.  You may travel using this document for up to 90 days after the date you submitted the Statement of Live Birth document.

At least one parent must appear in person and provide identification to obtain a Temporary Confirmation of Birth Letter. There may be fees for this service, which are set and collected by individual municipalities. 

Does my Ontario Birth Certificate expire?

No.  Birth Certificates do not expire as long as they remain in good physical condition.