All I want is a chance

Authority Vital Statistics Agency

Joyce and her son had recently moved to the United Kingdom. Seeking to change her son’s surname to her new married name, she contacted the Vital Statistics Agency. Agency staff in B.C. informed her she could make a name change application – but only if she arrived in person. Incredulous, Joyce asked to speak to a supervisor, but was rebuffed and told that the supervisor would merely restate the fact: She must apply in person. Given that it was not practical to fly back to B.C. and make the application, Joyce contacted us.

The Vital Statistics Agency did not have any records of its discussions with Joyce, but it agreed that she should have been able to speak with a supervisor. During the course of our investigation we determined that there was a process through which Joyce did not have to meet the requirement that her application be submitted in person – she could request a waiver of the residency requirement. We wanted to ensure that the Vital Statistics Agency informed Joyce clearly about her options and the steps she needed to take, so we consulted with the Agency about communicating this information. The Vital Statistics Agency then wrote a detailed letter to Joyce, explaining how to apply for a waiver from the U.K.

Category Children and Youth
Type Case Summary
Fiscal Year 2014
Location Out of Province