British Columbia

Vancouver woman petitions against dual name crackdown on new IDs

A Surrey woman caught up in a name-change crackdown in B.C. is petitioning to keep her dual last name — despite a deadline of February 2018 to change it or give up her chance for a new B.C. Services Card.

'There has to be something wrong with this'

Katalin Toreky Paziuk was married 15 years using her partner's last name with no problem, until she learned about the rules for the new B.C. Services card. (CBC)

A Surrey woman caught up in a name change crackdown in B.C. is petitioning to keep her dual last name — despite a deadline of February 2018 to change it or give up her chance for a new B.C. Services Card.

The province says anybody applying for an all-in-one B.C. Services Card after April 2016 must use the name on their card that matches their birth certificate, and if it's changed, adhere to the Name Act standards.

That sparked angry comments across social media, as people learned they must legally change their name, unless they opted to take their spouse's and have a marriage certificate.

That is not fair says Katalin Toreky Paziuk, whose double-barrelled last name has never caused a problem since her marriage in 2000.

"I was feeling so emotional and unhappy about this .There has to be something wrong with this ," said the Surrey woman who first learned of the issue when she was renewing her driver's licence in 2015.

Toreky Paziuk is petitioning Citizens' Services Minister Jinny Sims to allow the "mainstream practice" of hyphenated or dual surnames on B.C. Services cards.

So far, hundreds of people agree. 

The majority of provincial and federal government agencies in Canada will accept a marriage certificate as proof of a person's name.

But the Insurance Corporation of B.C. stopped doing that in April 2016.

"It's only in B.C.," said Toreky Paziuk, who is getting a lot of reaction from others also facing frustration if they've adopted a nickname or combined surnames.

Across the province, people are learning the name they've used to buy a car, a house, fill prescriptions is not legal.

All this kerfuffle is associated with the province's identity card which rolled out four years ago and has, so far, cost $203 million to implement.

B.C.'s Name Act requires hyphenated or dual surnames adopted after marriage to go through a legal name change.

Health Minister Adrian Dix admits the law dates back to the 1940s.

"It may be that our Name Act is out of step with modern realities," Dix told CBC.

But there are, as yet, no plans to change it.

If people are stuck — they can just keep the hyphenated or dual last name on their driver's licence — and get a separate medical card with no photo, using the legal name that they no longer use anywhere else.

The B.C. Services Card, launched in 2013 was supposed to cost $150 million and replace the previous CareCard. It can also be combined with a driver's licence. The implementation has already cost $203 million. (B.C. Government)

With files from Belle Puri