Quebec Spouses' Right to Choose Their Family Name


We, the undersigned citizens and residents of Canada, draw the attention of The Honourable Bertrand St-Arnaud, the Minister of Justice of Québec, to the following:

Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec states that women and men in Quebec must exercise their civil rights under their maiden name.

Name change is a basic legal act that is recognized in practically all legal systems to allow an individual the opportunity to adopt a name other than the name given at birth, marriage, or adoption.

It is a fundamental human right blatantly ignored by Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec.

Today, a married woman who lives in Quebec is FORCED by law to retain her maiden name and her maiden name (i.e. her father's name!) is what defines her in all legal documents (health card, driver’s license, passport, credit card, etc.).

This rule applies to all spouses domiciled in Quebec, even if they were married outside Quebec. Today in Quebec, married women are not forced and expected to go by their married names anymore, but forced to keep their maiden names.

If some women do not wish to change their names and choose to keep for the rest of their lives their maiden ones, it is their choice and the law must protect this choice. But other women or men who desire to use their spouse's surname should also be given the choice to choose which name they wish to officially use upon their marriage.

The law should legitimize both options.

A common surname symbolizes strength, bondage, kinship. Also, in the case of immigrant women who marry Quebecers, changing the surname would give them a better chance to feel integrated in this society.

Married men are also deprived of their freedom of choice, but I think that the issue affects more women than men as few men wish to take their wife's surname.

THEREFORE, we, the petitioners, call upon the Minister of Justice of Québec to amend Section 393 of the Civil Code of Quebec that states that women and men in Quebec must exercise their civil rights under their maiden name.

We are not asking for anything that is not known or used in the rest of Canada. We are not asking for the enactment of an utterly foreign, non-western concept in the body of the Canadian law or society.

We are asking that women and men who live in Quebec have the same rights as women and men in English Canada.

It is time to put an end to this diminishing and dictatorial law and give spouses in Quebec FREEDOM OF CHOICE.

Madi Lussier



Quebec Spouses’ Right to Choose Their Family Name

Open letter to the Government of Quebec: Quebec’s Civil Code denies spouses’ basic freedom of choice


  • katherine beckett I want to have my husbands last name because I am proud and honored to be his wife, it should be our right to have or have not.

  • Bradley Davis My Fiancée was devastated when she found out about this law. We got engaged three weeks ago, everyday she has been talking about how we are getting married and how she is going to have the same name as me (and our future children ). This was a crushing blow for her, I told her from the start there is no pressure to take my name in fact I didn't even ask her to. She insisted, now after reading the law for myself I am beyond belief. I understand equality and it's been a long fought battle for woman but taking away their right to choose puts women right back where they started on this issue. A Man should not now or ever have the right to force a woman to take his name, so why should the Government have the right to force her not to? If the definition of "equality for women" is the voted group consensus of politician's making her decisions for her in place of her husband then I think we still have a LONG WAY to go on this issue. In fact I think a man and a woman should both have the right to change their names when they get married. When we are born we are born into somebody's family they rise us and teach us the facts of life, once we are grown up we get a job and most of us look for somebody to spend the rest of their lives with. This is what I would call the beginning of their own family and a family should share a name or at least have the choice to. That name should be agreed on between both husband and wife, ether the husband surname, the wife's surname or something else entirely (maybe they both dislike their current surnames). If the refusal to give men and women this basic freedom is cost related by all means send me the bill I would gladly pay the administration fees involved to process the applications and what not, probably a small price to pay for some basic freedom of choice for my future wife and I. I think the least they can do is allow us to get married outside of the province or some other accommodation after all I am Canadian. This is just another reason for my Fiancée and I to add to the ever going list of reason to pack up our things and get the heck out of here. The Quebec Government wonders why so may people are leaving the Provence? Perhaps it's the fact that all the Government's time, money and concentration is spent on using law to force the population into conforming to ridiculous social laws that strips all citizens of their basic rights. If you fall into the group of people that agree with the social laws because they suit your opinion then that's great for you however you should still be outraged that you do not have the right chose otherwise if you see fit. I support this Petition and ask the government to give us our freedom it's 2014 for pete's sake! Please get out of my personal life and fix our bridges and struggling economy!!!


  • Eric MacKenzie I feel strongly that a family should have the same family name.

    I also believe that the option to change one's name should be available to both men and women.

join the discussion

Recent signatures

  • username

    Tatiana Tiutiun

    6 days ago Comments: I come from a culture where we feel proud taking our Husband's name. It unites us as a family and bonds us. Our children will not have to wonder why mommy has a different last name. In my case it is even worse... I was married before I came to Quebec and later our paths separated with my former partner. However because of the legal system in Quebec there was no way I specify in the divorce that I want my maiden name back. Now I remarried and I am forced to use my ex husbands name... which obviously is a source of discontent in my family. I want to have a choice to take the last names I am entitled to .
  • username

    Autumn Stephen

    2 weeks ago Comments: -
  • username

    Jessica Lee Heatherington

    3 weeks ago Comments: -
See more

Petition highlights

There are no highlights yet.