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Reclaiming your Indigenous name? Coquitlam set to waive ID change fees

You won’t need to pay a fee if you want to reclaim your Indigenous name on your government-issued ID.
Rosalie Dipcsu painted two murals and created stencils for the Red Fish Healing Centre at səmiq̓ʷəʔelə/Riverview Lands in Coquitlam.

You won’t need to pay a fee if you want to reclaim your Indigenous name on your government-issued ID.

That’s the proposal by City of Coquitlam staff in advance of changes to the fees and charges bylaw Dec. 6.

On Monday, the city’s council-in-committee voiced its support for the move that, if OK’d next month, would see the $65 civic fee waived for the RCMP fingerprinting and police information check.

The city is also looking at absorbing the $25 RCMP charge for the administration work; it plans to recoup the funds from the federal government on applications that are approved for a name change.

The plan for the civic fee waivers follows similar actions around Metro Vancouver.

Already, the cities of Burnaby, North Vancouver, Vancouver and Delta have scrubbed their costs associated with Indigenous name changes on government-issued identification cards.

And the cities of Port Moody and Surrey are also in discussion about removing the fees.

Burnaby’s and North Vancouver’s goes a step further with the RCMP charge waiver, which Coquitlam is mirroring.

The changes come after the federal government announced in May that it would process Indigenous name changes on government-issued ID and passports at no cost to the applicant for five years.

That aligns with Recommendation 17 in the Calls to Action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report.

And it comes as the 2022 draft budget and business plan — which council is due to approve next month — make Reconciliation a key theme in future policies, as well as Diversity, Inclusion and Equity.

The expected loss of revenue to the city as a result of the proposed fee waivers is about $3,000, city staff report.