The birth of every child in the Northwest Territories must be registered with the Registrar General of Vital Statistics within 30 days after the birth. Registration is required to establish a permanent legal record of a person’s birth. Without registration, a birth certificate cannot be obtained.
Registering the birth is the responsibility of:
- The mother of the child;
- If the mother is incapable, the father of the child;
- where either parent is incapable, the other parent;
- where both parents are incapable, the person standing in the place of the parents
- if there is no person to whom the above apply, the occupier of the premises in which the child was born i.e. hospital, health centre, etc.
How to Register a Birth
- Both the mother and father must complete and sign the Birth Registration Statement.
- The child’s name must be written entirely in characters of the Roman alphabet. If identifiers such as Junior, Jr., II or III are included in either the given name(s) or surname of the child, it will become part of their legal name. A child’s surname can contain no more than two names hyphenated or combined.
- The rules for choosing a surname must be followed.
- If the birth occurs in a hospital, the hospital requires the completion of the Birth Registration Statement form before the mother is discharged. If this does not happen, the staff will complete and submit one on behalf of the parents. If the birth does not occur in a hospital, the Mother and/or Father must contact the Health Services Administration office on steps to register the child.
- Once the Registrar General of Vital Statistics receives the Birth Registration Statement form, the information is checked and verified. Any missing or incorrect information is followed up with the appropriate parties (i.e. mother, father and/or hospital) for correction. The completed registration is entered into a computer database and the hardcopy registration is permanently filed.
- The Registrar General of Vital Statistics does not send notification of receipt of the Birth Registration Statement. However, if child is 'unnamed' or father or other parent was not available to sign the original Birth Registration Statement, then a follow-up letter will be written with required statutory declarations.
- There is no fee to register a birth within one year of the date of birth.
- The information collected on the Birth Registration Statement is collected under the authority of the Vital Statistics Act. The information provided is necessary to register the birth, produce certificates and provide statistical and demographic information.
Rules for Choosing a Surname
One of the first important decisions in your new baby’s life is choosing a name!
There are several options for choosing a surname (last name) for your child.
Your baby can be registered with:
- the mother’s surname;
- the father’s surname;
- the other parent’s surname;
- or a combination of the mother’s and father’s or other parent’s surnames (names may be combined with or without the use of a hyphen).
If parents agree, they can also choose an entirely different surname for their child that is not the same as the parents’.
If the father or other parent is not available to sign the Birth Registration Statement at the time of birth, the father or other parent’s details cannot be included in the father or other parent section. In these situations, the Vital Statistics Office will send a letter and statutory declaration to be signed by both parents in order to add the details at a later date. Please note: There is no charge to add this information if it is received within 60 days of birth.