Policy Title: Change of Name for Students Policy
Policy Owner: Registrar
Effective Date: January 18, 2017
Last Revised: August 23, 2023
On this page:
- Application and Scope
- Accountability and Compliance
- Policy Revision Date
- Specific Links
This policy outlines the process for students and former students requesting to change their legal, preferred, chosen or lived name on their College records and to ensure appropriate processes are in place to maintain the integrity of College records.
As a college community, we endeavor to be equitable and inclusive in all our interactions, practices and processes. Mohawk College is committed to upholding college members’ sense of belonging knowing this is integral to our collective working experience and well-being.
This policy applies to all students and former students requesting a legal, lived or preferred name change on College records. This policy excludes legal or preferred names as they appear on third-party records (OSAP, OCAS, benefits etc.) as it is the individual’s responsibility to engage the appropriate name change process for the respective institution.
Where a current or former student requests a lived name change, records which require the use of legal names only are excluded and cannot be changed (i.e. federal and provincial medical documentation).
International students who require a name change due to duplication of their name(s) within their Mohawk email address (as a result of the transfer of applicant data OCAS International Application system to Banner) will be supported by the Registrar’s Office in completing a name correction.
“Gender” refers to an individual’s self-identification of their inner and/or individual sense of being male, female, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum. An individual’s self-identified and/or preferred gender may be the same as or different from that which was assigned at birth. Supporting documentation is not required for people to change their gender information.
“Guarantor” refers to someone who is 18 years of age or older and has known the student for at least 2 years.
“Legal Name” for Canadian citizens, is the name an individual is registered under in a province, typically the name assigned at birth. For non-Canadian citizens, the legal name is the name registered in Canada and taken from their immigration documents and passport.
“Lived Name” is a name an individual only identifies with, therefore is not merely a preference. This name will be included on the individual’s Mohawk College student record.
“Marital status” describes a person's relationship to their partner or spouse, i.e. married, cohabiting, single, divorced, or widowed.
“Name” is a word or combination of words by which a person is designated, called or known.
“Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP)” is the Ministry of Colleges and Universities program offering financial support to students through a mix of grants and loans.
“Preferred Name” is a name an individual prefers to be called or identified by and not what others prefer to call them. This name will appear on the Class list used by Faculty
“Requestor” includes a current or former Mohawk College student submitting the request for a change of name.
“Social Insurance Number (SIN)” is a Service Canada-issued nine-digit number required to work in Canada or have access to government programs and benefits.
“Student Record” means a collection of personal information that is organized and capable of being retrieved using a student’s name or student number.
The College understands and supports students’ right to self-identify, therefore their lived name ought to be used throughout the College to ensure a healthy and welcoming environment for all students. The College is committed to maintaining the integrity of its student and former student records. Good governance of College records necessitates a protocol be followed when changing a person’s name.
5.1 Accountability Framework
This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team.
The Registrar is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of this policy and revising this policy according to an established schedule or more frequently in response to feedback from the College Community.
Students and former students may request a legal, preferred or lived name change as it appears on applicable College records. The employee within the Registrar’s Office will provide guidance and support throughout the name change process.
The College will retain a record of all first, middle and last names as part of the individual’s record. The information will be stored in a secure location with limited access to protect the privacy of the student.
In cases where a lived name change is completed, transcripts, credentials, verifications, tax documents and other documentation will be completed in the student’s lived name. In addition, students are still required to make separate third-party name change requests. The institutions include, but are not limited to OSAP, banks, Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) providers, passport offices, potential work placements and employers, educational institutions, licensing bodies, Canada Revenue Agency, health insurance providers and police etc.
6.1 Legal Name Change for Current and Former Students
Current and former students requesting a legal name change must complete and sign the ‘Student Legal Name Change Form (Appendix B)’. Government issued identification using the new legal name (driver’s license, passport, marriage certificate, etc.) must be submitted with the completed form in person at the Square at any College campus, to initiate changes to College records. The Registrar’s Office will update the student information system accordingly.
If the requestor is unable to submit the documentation in person, they can mail their ‘Student Legal Name Change Request Form’ with a certified copy of their name change that has been attested by a Guarantor to the Registrar’s Office. Students are also able to email their information from their MyMohawk email account to ask [at] mohawkcollege.ca (ask[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca).
Guarantors include those who are acceptable Guarantors for obtaining or renewing a Canadian passport.
The Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) may require additional information for the College to update a student’s OSAP application. A government issued document reflecting new name and Social Insurance Number (SIN); copy of marriage certificate; police check; or, copy of Change of Name certificate issued by the province where the legal name change was processed may be required.
6.2 Student Preferred Name Change
Students requesting a preferred name be added to their student record can notify the employee in the Square at their campus. Their preferred name will be on class lists only. Their legal name will be used in our Student Information System for email, ID card, portal access, transcripts, tax forms and credentials.
6.3 Student Lived Name Change
Students requesting a lived name to be used by the College, must complete and sign the ‘Student Lived Name Change Request Form (Appendix D)’. This form applies to first, middle and last names. Documentation received from the individual will be stored in a secure location with restricted access to protect the privacy and rights of the requestor.
Requestors will meet with a member of the Registrar’s Office. They will be provided with information and clarity on how to change their first, middle and/or last names, and offered support in completing the process of using their lived name in College records.
The College will update the appropriate College records to reflect the lived first, middle and/or last names. Such records include mailing address, email address, transcripts, credentials, verifications, One Card, portal and learning platform.
Tax forms will be generated in the students’ lived name. Should a student require their tax forms generated in their legal name (as requested through CRA), these will be produced by either the Registrar’s Office (T2202) or Finance (T4A). Tax information including name is filed or amended directly with the CRA in addition to a copy available to students on MyMohawk.
External institutions may not recognize or accept a lived first, middle or last name for legal purposes. The institutions include, but are not limited to OSAP, banks, Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) providers, passport offices, potential work placements and employers, educational institutions, licensing bodies, Canada Revenue Agency, health insurance providers and police.
Current and former students are responsible for resolving first, middle and last name discrepancies with external institutions according to their procedures.
6.4 Students enrolled in a Program Delivered by a Partner Institution
There may be limitations for students enrolled in a Mohawk College program delivered in partnership with another educational institution as we are limited to updating Mohawk College systems.
Legal name changes are completed by the Registrar’s Office and are updated within the Ministry site. Lived Name changes can only be completed within Mohawk systems, it will not update any information within the Ministry. Students in apprenticeship programs will be responsible for contacting their training consultant at the Ministry to discuss any issues with a change of name at the college
6.4.2 McMaster University
Students registered in programs delivered in partnership with McMaster University can have their preferred name updated within Mohawk College systems. Lived name and/or legal name changes processed at Mohawk College will not update on McMaster University systems. Students who want a Lived Name change or Legal Name Change will need to update their name with McMaster and Mohawk.
6.4.3 Six Nations Polytechnic (SNP)
Students registered in programs delivered with SNP can update their preferred name, lived and legal names by completing the steps listed within this system.
6.4.4 triOS College
There is no impact to students attending the Mississauga campus as it relates to this process.
6.4.5 Dual Credit/City School
Active students (post-registration into a program) who would like a lived name or preferred name change will follow the process outlined in this policy.
6.5 Name Correction for International Students
Students requesting a name correction will be supported by a member of the Registrar’s Office. They will be provided with information and clarity on how to correct their name and offered support in completing the process.
Students requesting a name correction, must complete and sign the ‘Name Correction Request Form (Appendix C)’. Documentation received from the individual will be stored in a secure location with restricted access to protect the privacy and rights of the requestor.
After receiving confirmation of the legal name, the College will update the appropriate College records to reflect the correct first, middle and/or last names and support the student in receiving a new One Card and email address.
7.1 Revision Date
The Registrar’s Office is responsible for ensuring that records of students and former students are maintained and modified in accordance with this policy.
Information Technology is responsible for developing and implementing the workflow and process for name changes to be captured in our systems and for previous names to be kept for historical purposes. The information will be stored in a secure location with limited access to protect the privacy of the student. The privacy and confidentiality of students are important to Mohawk College. Protection of change of name information using appropriate security measures for the information will be instated to minimize the possibility of unauthorized access. The documentation provided by students will be scanned and saved within the Registrar’s Office system with limited employee access. Original documents will be returned to the employee after the requested change has been completed.
The College will make responsible efforts to update and maintain confidentiality when a legal, preferred or lived name change is completed. The College acknowledges that there is the possibility with system upgrades or changes, additional OCAS applications or other changes to a student record, that a student’s initial or legal name may be visible to those employees outside of the Registrar’s Office who have access to the student information system.
The Registrar is responsible for reviewing this policy every five years or earlier when required.
- Appendix A – Student Name Change Procedures
- Appendix B – Student Legal Name Change Form (PDF)
- Appendix C - Student Name Correction Form (PDF)
- Appendix D – Student Lived Name Change Form (PDF)
- GC-4301-1982 Student Human Rights Policy
- SS-3106-1978 Access to Student Records Policy
- Criminal Code, RSC 1985
- Ontario Human Rights Code
- Change of Name Act, R.S.O. 1990
P1. The student self-identifies to a College employee and is directed to The Square. A unique email account (studentnamechange [at] mohawkcollege.ca (studentnamechange[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)) is used for students wishing to complete a name change.
P2. An employee in the Square asks if the student wants to change their Legal Name, Preferred Name or Lived Name in College records.
P3. Legal and Preferred Name change requests are processed by the front-line employee in the Registrar’s Office
Lived Name change requests are processed by a Lead Student Services Representative or Coordinator within the Registrar’s Office.
Legal Name Change for Students
P4. The staff member explains the process for a student to change their Legal Name. The student is provided with the Student Legal Name Change Form to complete and provide appropriate documentation.
Students attending a collaborative program or those in partnership with another institution will be advised of any unique considerations in ensuring information is updated at both institutions.
P5. Documentation is verified by the staff member before the updates are made in the student information system with the new Legal Name. Information Technology is contacted to change the student’s email address if requested.
P6. The documentation provided by the student is scanned and securely stored.
P7. The student is advised to visit the ONE Card office for a new identification card.
Preferred Name Change for Students
P8. The Square front-line employee asks the student if they want their preferred name used in the classroom only. If yes, the employee will add the preferred name in Banner.
Students attending a collaborative program or those in partnership with another institution will be advised of any unique considerations in ensuring information is updated at both institutions.
The Director of Partnerships & Service Integration will be advised of Preferred Name changes for students attending the Mississauga campus or those delivered in partnership with SNP. They will advise the appropriate contact at the institution of this change. During the registration period these changes will be captured on the SNP enrolment report.
Lived Name Change for Students
P9. Students wanting a Lived Name Change will be asked to book an appointment with a Coordinator or Lead Student Services Representative to review the information and receive clarity on the process of using their lived name at the College.
Appointments can also be booked online through The Square website.
P10. Staff member meets with the student and explains details on the Student Lived Name Change Request Form highlighting:
- the College records that will be updated with the change of lived name; student information system, email, One card, transcripts, tax forms, credentials, student portal and learning platform.
- how to change the name before the Convocation ceremony by reviewing the Application to Graduate process (to update the name in the Convocation book and credential to reflect either lived name or legal name at the discretion of the student);
- updates through the OCAS website should be avoided as it will automatically change Mohawk information back to the legal name;
- external institutions may not recognize or accept preferred names for legal purposes;
- inconsistency between names used by the College and the names used by external organizations may cause unexpected difficulty;
- unique considerations or additional steps to take if enrolled in a collaborative program or those in partnership with another institution;
- impact if in an apprenticeship program or those with governing licensing bodies;
- that it will be the student’s responsibility to resolve discrepancies;
- the individual releases the College from all claims that may result from changing their given first, middle and/or last names to reflect their lived names after signing the waiver; and
- that the College will take every responsible effort to ensure that all data is updated and confidentiality maintained when a preferred, lived or legal name change is completed. The College acknowledges that there is the possibility with system upgrades, additional OCAS applications, etc., that a student’s initial or legal name may be visible to those outside of the Registrar’s Office.
P11. Following the student initialing and signing the Student Lived Name Change Request Form and providing government-issued photo identification with the name as it currently appears in the College records, the staff member will:
- sign the form and indicate the effective date for the change;
- scan a copy of the student’s request form and government-issued photo identification, and save the documents in a restricted access folder;
- contact Information Technology to change the student information based on the signed form;
- provide the student with a letter for the ONE Card office to issue a new identification card; and,
- send an email notification to the student’s faculty if the name change is made after classes have started in the semester and advise the faculty to update the name on their Excel files for importing grades.
- contact Director Partnerships & Service Integration if the student is attending our Mississauga campus or a program delivered in partnership with SNP. The Director of Partnerships & Service Integration will advise the appropriate contact of the change.
Name Correction for Students
P12. The staff member explains the process for a student to have the name correction processed. The student is provided with the Name Correction Form to complete and provide appropriate documentation. The staff members shares with the student that the College records that will be updated with the correct legal name; student information system, email, One card, transcripts, credentials, tax forms, student portal and learning platform.
- Documentation is verified by the staff member before the updates are made in the student information system with the correct Legal Name. Information Technology is contacted to change the student’s email address if requested.
- The documentation provided by the student is scanned and securely stored.
- The student is advised to visit the ONE Card office for a new identification card.
Support for Academic Areas
Academic employees requiring support with class lists or other platforms being used (MyCanvas, Teams, etc.) for students who have completed a Lived Name Change or Preferred Name Change can contact studentnamechange [at] mohawkcollege.ca (studentnamechange[at]mohawkcollege[dot]ca)