Attention: For optimal viewing, please use Firefox or Google Chrome. This website is not fully supported by Internet Explorer.

What’s in a name? – Part 1

Thursday, December 5, 2019

ICBC – Part 1

When making decisions, exercising discretion reasonably is an important way of acting fairly.

When Mary immigrated to Canada in 1980 she was married and her married name was recorded on her landing document. Mary and her husband divorced shortly after and she returned to using her maiden name.

When Mary applied for a Photo BC Services Card she was told it would be issued in the name on her landing document (her married name). Mary provided ICBC with several provincial and federal pieces of identification in her maiden name, including her expired BCID, her American birth certificate and her marriage certificate. Additionally, she noted her landing document included her maiden name in a “name flag” field which she felt linked her married name to her maiden name. ICBC still refused to issue Mary’s identification in her maiden name because their policy required identification to be issued in an individual’s “foundation name” – either the name on a provincial or territorial birth certificate or an immigration document.

Upset and frustrated, Mary reached out to us.

Our investigation focused on whether ICBC followed a fair procedure in determining if Mary could use her maiden name on her identification. ICBC informed us that the “name flag” field is interpreted by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, and ICBC, as being an individual’s alternative name, including a married name but also a nickname or shortened first name. As such, ICBC’s policy is not to accept names in this field as proof of identity.

Not satisfied with this response, we looked into the matter further and questioned whether Mary was entitled to use her maiden name per section 3 of the BC Name Act, which clearly allows individuals to use either a maiden or married name. We also questioned whether ICBC doubted Mary’s maiden name given the information she had provided.

As a result of our investigation, ICBC agreed to exercise their discretion and issue Mary’s identification using her maiden name.

Font Resize