Birth registration is the only way to create a permanent legal record of your child’s birth in British Columbia. Birth registration is essential to apply for important services like birth certificates, the Medical Services Plan, Canada Child Benefits, and a social insurance number.
On March 18, 2013, the B.C. government introduced the Family Law Act, which sets out rules for determining a child's parents whether the child was conceived through natural or assisted reproduction, including surrogacy. To meet the needs of parents and fulfill the requirements of the Act, Vital Statistics offers both online and paper options for birth registration.
The time required to both register a birth and issue birth certificates is on average 3 to 4 weeks. This includes receipt of the Notice of Birth from the hospital or medical attendant, processing and mail times. Incomplete or late documents will delay processing times.
Online Birth Registration
B.C.’s Vital Statistics Agency, in partnership with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), Service Canada, and Health Insurance BC, provides parents registering newborn children with a quick, easy, and secure way to register online and also register for:
- Canada Child Benefits (CCB)
- Social Insurance Number (SIN)
- Medical Services Plan (MSP)
Children born in B.C. can be registered using our secure and easy online birth registration service unless one or more of the following apply:
- your child is over 1 year old
- multiple parents are being recorded
- a surrogacy arrangement has been made
- you don't have access to a computer or internet
If you cannot register your child online, contact Vital Statistics. We will send you a registration package and answer any questions you may have about registering your child's birth. Return the completed birth registration form by mail using the postage-paid envelope included in the registration package.
If the mother and father/parent are both being recorded on the birth registration, then both must be present at the computer. If the father/parent is not being recorded on the registration, the mother may complete the registration on her own. If the father/parent is deceased or not present in the country, contact Vital Statistics to discuss options.
You need the following information to register your child's birth online:
- date of your child's birth
- names you have chosen for your child
- name of the hospital or other place in B.C. where the birth took place
- parents' surnames as they appears on current birth certificates or change of name certificates
- parents' dates and places of birth, and current ages
- parents' Personal Health Numbers
Use the Vital Statistics Agency's secure online service to register your child’s birth.
Applying for Canada Child Benefits with Birth Registration
After the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) receives the information from the birth registration, your child will be registered for:
- the Canada Child Benefit (CCB) and any related provincial or territorial programs
- the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit and any related provincial programs
Who can apply?
To apply for Canada Child Benefits at the same time that you register your newborn, you must be:
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
- the mother of the child whose birth is being registered, and
- primarily responsible for the care and upbringing of this child
For more information, visit the CRA website or call 1-800-387-1193.
Once a mother applies using the birth registration form, she must not reapply for Canada Child Benefits using another method such as the CRA's RC66, Canada Child Benefits Application, or online through My Account. Re-applying may result in a delay in processing the first application or issuing payments.
Personal information is collected under the Income Tax Act and will be used to register your child for Canada child benefits, including related federal, provincial and territorial programs administered by the CRA. It may also be used for any purpose related to the administration or enforcement of the Act such as audit, compliance and the payment of debts owed to the Crown. It may be shared or verified with other federal, provincial/territorial government institutions to the extent authorized by law. Under the Privacy Act, individuals have the right to access their personal information and request correction if there are errors or omissions. Refer to Info Source Personal Information Banks CRA PPU 063 and CRA PPU 140 on the CRA website.
Applying for your Child's Social Insurance Number (SIN) with Birth Registration
A Social Insurance Number (SIN) is free and is required to access various Canadian government benefits and programs such as:
Who can apply?
To be eligible to apply for your child’s SIN at the same time that you register the birth, you must be:
- a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, and
- a parent of the child
If you are not a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident, you may still be eligible to apply for your child's SIN, but will need to apply directly to Service Canada.
After your child's birth is registered with the Province of British Columbia, the information necessary to apply for a SIN for your child is forwarded to Service Canada. Your child’s SIN will be delivered within five business days of the birth being completely registered.
For further information, including information relating to your privacy rights, go to the Service Canada website.
Enrolling your Child in the Medical Services Plan (MSP) with Birth Registration
Medical Services Plan (MSP) requires that, if the newborn is a B.C. resident, he/she must be enrolled in MSP.
Who can apply?
To be eligible to apply for MSP at the same time that you register your child's birth:
- you must be the mother of the child
- you must have active MSP coverage at the time the child is born, and
- the child must be a resident of British Columbia
A resident is someone who:
- is a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- makes his or her home in British Columbia
- lives in British Columbia at least six months of the year
You can expect to receive a BC Services Card in your newborn's name within 4-5 weeks of submitting the Registration of Live Birth.
For additional information regarding MSP eligibility and enrollment, see Medical Services Plan (MSP).
Naming Your Child
A child must have a given name (first name) and a surname (family name/last name), and may have one or more middle names.
A child's surname can be:
- one of the parents’ surnames
- hyphenated or a combination of both parents' surnames
- different from both parents’ surnames
A child’s surname cannot be more than two surnames combined together.
Acceptable Characters for Names
Names must use roman alphabetic letters, and can contain apostrophes, hyphens and a standard set of French accents. Numbers, brackets (), slashes / or other symbols are not accepted.
The following French accents are accepted:
|Acute||Á É Í Ó Ú Ý|
|Grave||À È Ì Ò Ù|
|Circumflex||Â Ê Î Ô Û|
|Umlaut||Ä Ë Ï Ö Ü|
Acceptable Lengths for Names
Occasionally, a child’s name is too long to fit on a birth certificate that includes the parents’ names and places of birth. When a name is too long to fit on a parental birth certificate, we provide two documents in place of the parental birth certificate:
- An individual birth certificate listing your child's name, but not the name(s) of the parent(s), and
- A birth extract, which provides parental information.
You would need to present both of these documents for any applications that require a parental birth certificate, for example, a passport application for a child under 16.