Friday, October 25, 2019

Name Change

Elizabeth Ann, by Ernest H. Shepard
Well I knew this was going to be tedious and full of red tape, and so far that is true.

I called the CRA office first thing in the morning, within minutes of their opening, and already there was at least a 20 minute wait time on hold. I called my bank: no answer. I went out for a walk with the dog. I called the bank again: no answer. I called CPP/OAS and waited a very short time before someone answered. They were quick and courteous and they had all the information at their fingertips, they even knew what my birth name was without me telling them. Apparently some government departments do talk to other government departments. I called the bank: no answer. I called the CRA office and the wait time was now over 40 minutes.

I had an early lunch and drove to the Access Nova Scotia office where I thought I would get my driver's licence and health card changed. Turns out I could only do the driver's licence, I have to phone the health insurance people. But I also got my vehicle registration done and a new photo taken for the driver's licence which they said would be in the mail. In the car in the parking lot I called the health insurance people and they gave me an email address to send them a copy of my birth certificate and my new health card would be in the mail. Next on the list was Service Canada to change my name with the SIN people.

I am pretty sure the CPP lady got my birth name from the SIN office so this should have been pretty easy. At Service Canada they said they just needed my birth certificate, which I had. However, when they ran it through their computer it didn't work. Apparently there is supposed to be a number on my certificate that they can use in the computer. My certificate was issued in 1967 and it is a photostat. Being over fifty years old it is a little worse for wear but still legible. There are a few numbers on it, one typed and three handwritten. None of them are the number the people at Service Canada needed. I was told to get a new birth certificate, they couldn't change my SIN name until I did. Hard to believe since they already have my birth name on record, but that's what I was told.

I went to the bank, the one where they never answered the phone. Stood in line for a very long time only to be told that they required photo ID to change my name. Until the new driver's licence arrives I have no photo ID in my new name. I said something unpleasant about the fact that they don't answer the phone so I had to make a useless trip into their office. But clearly there have been so many staff cutbacks that there is no one available to answer the phone while there are customers lined up waiting for service.

So, I had previously looked into getting a new certificate and in the province where I was born they require a guarantor of a specific occupation (they give a list of acceptable occupations) who has known me for at least two years. I decided to ask the Mayor of my town. Strictly speaking he probably hasn't known me for two years but we did have a very friendly conversation at the Reservoir last summer so I thought he might do it. He has definitely known my dog for more than two years, so why not? I drove back to town and caught the Mayor just before he headed into a meeting. He said he'd do it, I just needed his permission and his work address so it didn't take much effort on his part. Unless they phone him of course. The town clerk was sorry to hear I was changing my name, she said she would have a hard time getting used to the new name. I told her she could call me whatever she wanted. Then I asked her how I change my name on my property and she gave me a phone number to call.

Since I was downtown anyway I got my name changed on my library card. Easy peasy, the library doesn't care what I call myself and has no requirement for proof of identity. I should have come armed with something fanciful, maybe Purple Dragon Lady, but I was unprepared and just gave her my birth name.

I went home and called the CRA, still over 40 minutes wait time. I put my phone on the charger with the speaker on and got Hapi's supper ready. Then I got my supper ready. 75 minutes later I got through to a live person. It all went smoothly and less than 10 minutes later it was done. So I thought I'd try one more bank, an online bank. Also easy. They just wanted my email address so they could send me a special message that included a signature card to fill in. In return they wanted a scan of my birth certificate. I had my supper and then replied to the online bank. For some reason my response was refused, I got a message saying that it did not comply with official protocol. Oh well, I would deal with that in the morning.

Today I did a bunch more phone calls and managed to get the online bank problem fixed (turns out it was an error on their side) and changed my name in two other places. I called another online bank who required a document with my new name and my SIN number. They said a T4 or an NOA would do. Had to ask what an NOA was (Notice of Assessment). I explained that the earliest I could get a T4 with my new name on it would be late February and the NOA never comes before July, so that was going to be a bit of a wait. Kind of crazy. I explained how the SIN change was delayed because of my ancient birth certificate. Maybe when I finally get the new birth certificate and take it back to Service Canada I can get them to issue me some kind of document with my birth name and SIN number (and address) on it. Probably too much to ask.

There are a few more places I can probably change my name but for the rest I have to wait until I have my new driver's licence and my new birth certificate. Slowly but surely it is happening. 

Here is a little poem about my new name, courtesy of A.A. Milne:


Elizabeth Ann
Said to her Nan:
"Please would you tell me how God began?
Somebody must have made Him. So
Who could it be, 'cos I want to know?"
And Nurse said, "Well!"
And Ann said, "Well?
I know you know and I wish you'd tell."
And Nurse took pins from her mouth, and said,
"Now then, darling, it's time for bed."

Elizabeth Ann
Had a wonderful plan:
She would run round the world until she found a man
Who knew exactly how God began.

She got up early, she dressed, and ran
Trying to find an Important Man.
She ran to London and knocked at the door
Of the Lord High Doodelum's coach-and-four.
The Lord High Doodelum lay in bed,
"Please, sir (if there's anyone in),
However-and-ever did God begin?"

But out of the window, large and red,
Came the Lord High Coachman's face instead.
And the Lord High Coachman laughed and said:
"Well, what put that in your quaint little head?"

Elizabeth Ann went home again
And took from the ottoman Jennifer Jane.
"Jenniferjane," said Elizabeth Ann,
"Tell me at once how God began."
And Jane, who didn't much care for speaking,
Replied in her usual way by squeaking.

What did it mean? Well, to be quite candid,
I don't know, but Elizabeth Ann did.
Elizabeth Ann said softly: "Oh!
Thank you, Jennifer, now I know."

(from Now We Are Six, by A.A. Milne, decorations by Ernest H. Shepard)


Wisewebwoman said...

Wow Annie, what a runaround, I remember it being much easier when I dropped off the hyphenated former husband. Good old days perhaps of just showing the birth certificate. Quebec is really grown up as they only have birthnames on ID for everyone. Though I note our PM's wife added on Trudeau to appease the patriarchy. As did Hillary Rodham when yer man ran for prez.

But goodonya. I am still amazed that so many women change their name on marriage today. Even professional high-ranking women in my own birth fam.


Rain Trueax said...

Wow, but glad you did it to feel good about your name.