Update: Bill 173 to end discrimination against indigenous naming traditions in Ontario

15 April 2016

On February 25, 2016, Bill 173 was introduced into the Ontario Legislature. Schedule 33 of the Bill included significant changes to Ontario’s Vital Statistics Act, and other related legislation, to allow for the recognition of traditional naming practices. The changes to the Act would allow for the registration of the birth of a child with a single name that accords with the child’s traditional culture. These changes follow the filing of a human rights complaint by Ienonhkwa’tsheriiostha, a young Mohawk woman from Akwesasne, who refused to abandon her Mohawk name and culture by complying with the existing legislation which required the adoption of a surname.

On April 13, 2016, the Bill passed third reading and is expected to quickly receive Royal Assent. 

Gowling WLG was honoured to act on behalf of Ienonhkwa’tsheriiostha and wishes to congratulate her on this well-deserved victory in the legislature.

The full text of the original publication can be found here.


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