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Baby Naming Restrictions Do Exist In Canada & Some Provinces Have Strict Rules

Some parents are banned from using names considered to be controversial or embarrassing. 👶

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Baby Naming Restrictions Do Exist In Canada & Some Provinces Have Strict Rules

Choosing a name for your child is a pretty big decision, but did you know that your choice could actually be rejected? There are baby naming rules in some parts of Canada and certain things are apparently a no-go.

This means that, depending on where you live, the province might actually have a say in what you decide to name your child.

While Canada's most popular baby names are not always the same in different provinces and territories, it's not often that names get banned or forbidden altogether.

However, that doesn't mean that some families don't face complications when registering the name of their little ones.


Recently, a First Nations couple in Manitoba called for changes to the province's Vital Statistics Act after they faced issues giving their child a traditional name.

They told CBC News that they named their daughter Atetsenhtsén:we, which would not qualify as the act doesn't allow the colon symbol.

In Manitoba, a given name and surname "must consist only of the letters 'a' to 'z' and accents from the English or French languages, but may include hyphens and apostrophes."

Perhaps surprisingly, it's not the only place to have rules like this in place.

British Columbia

In B.C., the law says that names must use Latin alphabetic letters and can contain apostrophes, hyphens, a period and a standard set of French accents. However, numbers, brackets, slashes and other symbols are not accepted.


Similar rules apply in Alberta, where all names must "begin with a letter and may contain non-consecutive hyphens, apostrophes and periods."

Additionally, they must use the standard 26-letter English alphabet.

According to the province, "Greek letters, Inuit letters, Arabic script or Kanji are not acceptable."

Pictograms, codes, hieroglyphics, numbers, symbols, slashes, commas and more are banned.

That's not all for Albertans, either. The province says it will deny a requested name if it is considered to be confusing, embarrassing, misleading or "offensive on any other grounds."


While parents in Quebec get to decide the first and last names of their children, there are some rules they must follow.

The Directeur de l’état civil can ask people to change the names given to their baby if it's believed to be "controversial" or could cause the child to be ridiculed or not taken seriously.

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the province says the Vital Statistics Act sets out the rules for naming a baby.

"Sometimes a person’s cultural or ethnic background uses names for children that are different than the options permitted by New Brunswick law," it says. "In such special situations, the Vital Statistics Act allows parents to choose a name that is different from the options set out in the Act."

The rest of Canada

They're not the only spots either, as other Canadian regions have their own rules for parents to follow, so it's worth checking if you're expecting a baby.

If you're wondering about examples of baby names that could be banned in Canada — Elon Musk's kid X Æ A-12 is a likely one.

For the most part though, Canada's most common baby names like Noah, Jackson, Liam Amelia, Sophia and Olivia are very unlikely to be rejected by officials.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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