June 23, 2021

New Program Launched for Indigenous Peoples to Reclaim Their Indigenous Names on Canadian Immigration Documents

Posted by Amanda D'Angelo - Bellissimo Law Group PC

On 14 June 2021, Minister Mendicino, Minister Bennett and Minister Miller announced that Indigenous peoples can now reclaim their traditional names on immigration documents.

A person’s name is not just a name. A name is important to a person’s identity and is fundamental to who they are. Indigenous names have deep cultural and spiritual meanings.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has launched a process for Indigenous peoples, residential school survivors and their families to reclaim their Indigenous names on replacement passports, travel documents, citizenship certificates and permanent resident cards free of charge until 30 May 2026[1][2]. IRCC has streamlined the process of reclamation of Indigenous names to be faster and more efficient for applicants. Eligibility instructions and forms can be found [here].

“Supporting First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in reclaiming and using their Indigenous names is an integral part of the shared journey of reconciliation. Traditional names are deeply connected to Indigenous languages and cultures, and an individuals’ identity and dignity. This change means that Indigenous peoples can proudly reclaim their name, dismantling the legacy of colonialism and reflecting their true identity to the world.”

–       The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship