FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government has waived the fees related to a legal change of name to help residential school survivors and their families reclaim their traditional names.

“At birth, these children were given names that connected them to their rich Indigenous culture only to have it taken away when they entered the residential school system,” said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Arlene Dunn. “We hope those affected will proudly reclaim that important link to their families and heritage.”

Survivors and their families can reclaim their traditional names through the Vital Statistics Office at Service New Brunswick. Once the legal change of name is complete and a new birth certificate has been issued, they will be able to change their driver’s licence and medicare card for free through Service New Brunswick’s online platform or at a service centre.

Descendants such as children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and spouses/partners of residential school survivors are eligible for name changes.

“Helping to reconnect residential school survivors and their families with their traditional names is an important step in moving reconciliation forward,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Mary Wilson. “Our government’s commitment to progress on the Calls to Action remains steadfast and Service New Brunswick is proud to have a role in advancing Call #17.”

The provincial government is making the changes in response to a Call to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and in keeping with its commitment to reconciliation. The commission called upon governments to waive administrative costs for five years to allow residential school survivors and their families to reclaim names that were changed by the residential school system.

The fees will be waived for five years until July 2027.

Anyone who needs assistance or has questions can visit the Vital Statistics Office online or call Teleservices at 1-888-762-8600.