Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

CQiP General

I would like to be part of this new organization, how do I go about joining the team?

You can contact us at with a short description of yourself and what you think you can add to the team. Along with any ideas you have to make this project better.

I registered for the Out List over a week ago and am not listed on it yet. What happened?

Please personally send us an email with your Out List information. The webhost is not 100% reliable at sending us the email forms from registration. It is also possible that I am travelling and can not edit the site for a couple weeks. If you send us an e-mail I will at least be able to tell you when I can make the next update.

There is no one at my school on the Out List. How can I talk to people with my same experiences?

Visit our Forum page, or our Facebook group.  They don't get used too much but don't be nervous, we love interacting with everyone!

Name Changes (Why's and How's)

What's the difference between a preferred name and a legal name change?

A preferred name is a name that you have chosen for yourself to be addressed as whether it’s a shortened form of your legal one (e.g. an Alexander who goes only by Alex) or a totally unrelated name. A legal name change is simply the formal version of this, where you have filed government paperwork indicating your preferred name as your accepted name on all official records.

Can I change my name with my university/place of work (POW) if I haven't legally changed it yet?

In most cases, yes, this shouldn’t be an issue. Many POW and universities now have places on application forms/online updates where you can list a preferred name. If they don’t have an official one you are still well within your rights to request your boss/professor/colleagues/peers address you by a preferred name and pronouns. You can also submit your initial resume under whatever your preferred name is, as a resume is not a legal document.

If I want to legally change my name, how do I do that?

Legally changing your name varies in procedure between provinces/territories. As a Canadian citizen, you can change your name in whatever province/territory you live in currently; however, to get it updated on your birth certificate you will also need to contact the relevant office wherever you were born (i.e. if you were born in Manitoba but live in Ontario, you can change your name in Ontario and that still counts everywhere, but you have to file paperwork with Manitoba for a new birth certificate). The province you change your name in will send the appropriate paperwork to your province of origin, but you have to contact them after to have it processed.

To change your name, you will have to get in contact with the Vital Statistics Offices for whatever province/territory you are in. Based off the information available online (for more Google “name change + province/territory”) by province/territory the major components impacting name change are as follows:

Province/Territory Age ** Fees * Notes
Alberta 18 years $120 Agency fees also apply.

Fingerprints required.

British Columbia 19 years $137 Fingerprints required.
Manitoba 18 years $131 6-8 weeks for turnaround.

Fingerprints required.

New Brunswick 19 years $115 (given name) Separate forms/prices for surname changes.
Newfoundland 16 years $100 Publish in newspaper (opt. out available).
Northwest Territories 19 years $134 May have to supply reason for name change.
Nova Scotia 16 years $166 Publish notice in newspaper. Fingerprints required.
Nunavut 19 years $10 Require copy of birth certificate + 2 other certified copies of identification (i.e. Health card, driver’s license, SIN card etc.)
Ontario 18 years $137 6-8 weeks for turnaround.

Fingerprints required.

Prince Edward Island 18 years $191 Fingerprints required.
Quebec 18 years $300 Name changes are rarely granted (given or surname).
Saskatchewan 18 years $125 Forms only available through vital stats.
Yukon 19 years $50 May require supporting documentation.

*fees for birth certificate may not be included in quoted number

** these ages refer to the age at which you may change your own name, if you’re under aged a name change can still be processed but a parent/guardian must file for it

Note: The process for changing your sex designation (M/F/X in Canada) on birth certificates/health cards is also handled through the Vital Statistics offices. However, sex designation has to change on your birth certificate first before other government documents will change it, so you will have to deal with your province/territory of origin. Both name and sex designation can be changed at the same time, but the latter is additional paperwork and may incur additional fees. If you are intending to change both, it may be most expedient to deal solely with your province/territory of origin.

What do I do once my name is legally changed to get that updated with my university/POW?

If your POW has a human resources office that will usually be where you go to update any identification information. Generally, this will require a proof of name change – this is usually satisfied by the name change certificate you get back upon changing your name, although some institutions will require government photo ID (i.e. driver’s license). You may also need to speak to the IT offices if anything needs to be changed about your email address depending on accessibility of that to all employees.

With a university it should be a similar set up, although instead of an HR office it will usually be the registrar’s office. Most universities will prefer you to have government photo ID as proof of name change because whoever is working in the registrar’s office has most often never met you before. Once updated with the registrar’s office it should change on any online servers the university has as well, although this often does not carry for usernames/email addresses. However, many universities in Canada have emails linked to Gmail services, and through Settings in Gmail you can go to the Accounts tab and add a new email address which can be set as the default that will filter into the existing one. (In the General tab of Settings you can also change what name appears as your signature/display name).

If my university/POW doesn't have a preferred name option, how do I tell people what name I want to go by?

If there isn’t a place with your POW to indicate a preferred name you can still indicate to your colleagues/employers that you have one. If you’re starting a new job this can be done from the beginning with whomever is hiring you; afterwards you can just introduce yourself to people by your preferred name. If you’re already established at a workplace, you can still express a preferred name. It may take some time for people to get used to it – but try not to be discouraged! This can happen a few ways, some more public than others. An option is to email your boss/professor or tell them in person, and tell colleagues/peers either as a group or a few at a time, and allow a gradual trickle effect to happen. (Template emails are further down in this article). Alternatively, you can send a group email or speak up in a meeting. Do whatever you’re most comfortable with.

Things to consider when deciding to change your name:

If you’re in academia, or intending to enter academia, a consideration is that, while you do not have to publish under your legal name, it is best to try and stick to publishing under the same name if you can once you’ve started. This is true for both first and last name changes – ask any of your married (usually female identifying) professors!

An additional consideration of why you may want to legally change your name is for official documentation purposes. This can include more obvious things (driver’s license, health card, etc.) and less obvious ones (i.e. diplomas and certifications). Many of these things can be changed at a later time, but in cases of diplomas and alike there is often a caveat of any future/updated versions citing ‘copy’ on them. Depending on your identity and how frequently/where your job requires you to travel having a legally changed name may also be worth considering.

Addressing inappropriate questions 

An unfortunate reality that sometimes goes along with changing names and/or pronouns is people asking questions that they may think are appropriate or are well meant, but either aren’t appropriate or are not something you’re comfortable discussing. It can be hard to address these questions, especially depending on who they are coming from. The main thing, of course, is knowing you have no obligation to answer any questions you don't feel comfortable answering. A few example responses to deflect and/or end conversations/questions you aren’t comfortable answering:

“I don’t think that’s appropriate/an appropriate question.”

“That’s between myself and my doctor.”

“I’m not comfortable discussing that [with you].”

“It’s not a topic I’m prepared to discuss/comfortable talking about with you.” 

Even if you aren’t the one being asked the questions, if you’re around and hear a question that strikes you as inappropriate/invasive and whomever it is directed at seems uneasy, it can be helpful - if you’re comfortable doing so - to gently intervene. You don’t even have to bring up that the question wasn’t appropriate – you can cut in with something totally unrelated and derail the conversation (i.e. “Oh hey, [Name]! Glad I caught you, I’ve been meaning to ask you about [topic]…” )

Template e-mails

(to a professor/instructor):

Hello Professor [Name],

I am a student in your [course code] class this semester/term. On your roster my name appears as [name], however, I prefer to use the name [preferred name] (and [pronouns] pronouns), and would greatly appreciate you referring me by this.  Thank you for your understanding, and I look forward to starting your course next week.


[Preferred name]

(to boss/employer – name changed/new email address):

Good morning [Name],

I hope you are well. I am writing because I have recently changed my name from [previous name] to [new name]. I would like to make sure there are no issues in correspondence in future, so I have included my updated contact information, as I will no longer be using this account after [Date].

Best regards,

[new name]

[updated email address]

(to boss/employer – preferred name):

Good morning [Name],

I hope you are well. I am writing because I have started going by [preferred name] (and [pronouns] pronouns) instead of [previous name], and I would greatly appreciate you using [preferred name] when referring to me from now on. Thank-you for your cooperation and understanding.

Best regards,

[preferred name]

Issues and Conflict

An unfortunate reality is that conflict and discrimination can still arise in workplaces and schools. Depending on where it's coming from it can be difficult to navigate how to address it. Below are some suggestions of how to start. Additionally, if you are experiencing conflict and would like assistance with addressing it, don’t forget that our website has an anonymous discrimination form, where CQiP will contact the university on your behalf while maintaining your privacy.

Boss/professor → employee/student:

If you are in a subordinate position and your boss/professor is acting in a discriminatory manner towards you, most establishments have infrastructure in place to address this. There may be a hierarchy to this (i.e. if it’s a problem with a supervisor you may need to bring it up with a senior supervisor first before management) or there may be a singular office designated to handling it. In a university setting there are usually several offices you can speak to about harassing behaviour, usually including any student unions, a university administrative office or a higher up professor in the department.

Senior employee/student → younger employee/student:

Generally, this will just be a case of reporting the incident to the senior employee/student’s direct supervisor. If, for example, this is an incident with a teaching assistant (TA) harassing a student in the class, the student can bring this issue up with the professor for the course. Alternatively, in a case of an employee being harassed by a senior employee (like a supervisor or a project manager) you would take the issue to either HR or whomever supervises the senior employee

Employee/student → other employee/student:

Probably one of the most common situations where one encounters harassing behaviour is amongst peers and colleagues. This comes with its own difficulties, of course, as it can feel like speaking out will create friction with other colleagues/peers. That said, if you are being harassed it is important to have the issue addressed. In a POW setting, this is often speaking to whoever is supervising your collective positions or an HR office. In a university setting this is somewhat less clear as depending on the level of harassment this may be a single class issue that could be taken to either the professor or a higher level of administration, or it could be more broadly occurring in which case it’s better to start at a more administrative level. You may need to do some searching to find the exact resources at your institution.

Employee/student → boss/student:

How to address issues of harassment can be significantly less clear for cases where you are technically in the position of authority, but also know that whatever you say isn’t going to get the behaviour to stop. Usually the best approach to this will be to place the authority of whatever fallout there is with someone else. That is, in an employment situation, have another employee with equivalent or senior authority to your own address the issue. Likewise, if you are in a teaching role and a student is harassing you, ideally, you should have either the head of your department/your superior, or whatever other reporting board your institution has in place handle what the outcome is for the student.