Doing the Paper Work
Leave from Work
Two different kinds of leave from work are available for parents: maternity leave and parental leave. Maternity leave is available only for the birth mother. If you have been employed prior to the birth, you may qualify for Employment Insurance benefits during this time.
Under the British Columbia Employment Standards Act, employees are entitled to a leave of absence from work, without pay, so they can spend time with a new child. A birth mother is entitled to up to 17 consecutive weeks of unpaid maternity leave. This leave period may be extended by up to six consecutive weeks if an employee is unable to return to work for reasons related to the birth. An employer may require an employee to provide a health care provider’s certificate in support of a request for leave or a leave extension.
Employers are also required to provide an unpaid parental leave of 35 weeks for birth mothers and 37 weeks for fathers or adopting parents. The birth mother usually takes parental leave right after her maternity leave is over. If you, or the father, have been employed prior to the birth, you may qualify for Employment Insurance benefits during this time. For more information about Employment Insurance, Maternity and Parental benefits, visit the Service Canada website.
Please note: This is for general information only. It is not a legal document.
Changing Your Will
If either or both of you die, you want to be sure your child is well taken care by someone you trust. Decide who will be the best guardian to look after your child, then ask them if they will do it. If they say yes, you can either make a will or change your current will. For more information about making or changing your will, consult a legal representative.
Registering the Birth
The birth registration creates a legal record of your baby’s birth and legal name. To find out more about birth registration, visit the Vital Statistics website. As soon as possible after the birth of your baby (within 30 days), you must fill out the Registration of Live Birth form. The Registration of Live Birth form is available from:
- the hospital where you give birth
- your midwife, if you give birth at home
- any Vital Statistics office
- the Vital Statistics website
Submit this form to any Vital Statistics office or Government Agent’s office. There is no cost if you do this within 30 days of your baby’s birth. Normally, both parents sign the registration form. If the father does not sign it, none of his personal information can be registered or printed on the baby’s birth certificate. If you need help filling out your form, contact your local Vital Statistics Office. The number can be found in the blue pages of your local phone book.
How to Order a Birth Certificate: A birth certificate is used for official identification and as proof of a person's legal name, birthdate, and place of birth. It is an important document to have. To get a birth certificate, you can apply for one:
- in person at any Vital Statistics Office
- in person at any Service BC Office
- on‑line using the new secure electronic certificate ordering system
- by mail by completing and submitting an Application for Birth Certificate or Registration Photocopy form with the fee to Vital Statistics
There is a fee for a birth certificate. Visit the Vital Statistics website for more information about birth certificates.
Choosing a Name
You can choose any name you like for your baby. Your baby must have a first name (given name) and a last name (surname). You can give your baby one or more middle names if you wish. The baby’s surname can be different from the mother or father’s surname. The baby’s surname can be two surnames, hyphenated or combined together.
Applying for Canada Child Benefits
When you register your baby's birth, you can also apply for Canada Child Benefits. All you need to do is check the consent box in the Release of Information section on the back of the Registration of Live Birth form, sign and include your Social Insurance Number (SIN). If you give consent, the following information will be sent to the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
- mother's name, date of birth, place of birth, SIN, and mailing address
- child's name, date and place of birth, and sex
- child's birth registration number.
When you do this, your baby will be registered for the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and any related British Columbia programs, and the goods and services tax/ harmonized sales tax (GST/HST) credit. Your baby will also be signed up for the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB). For more information about the Canada Child Benefits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website or call 1‑800‑387‑1193.
Arranging for Medical Coverage
To get medical coverage for your baby, you must fill out the Medical Services Plan (MSP) Baby Registration form. This form should be filled out and sent within 60 days of your baby’s birth. It is also available at the hospital or from your midwife.
If you pay your own premiums, or if the premiums are paid by Health Canada, send the form to the MSP address on the form. If your premiums are to be paid by the Ministry of Housing and Social Development, take the form to your social worker. If premiums are paid through your place of work or union welfare plan, take the form to your group administrator for authorization.
A British Columbia CareCard for your baby will be sent to you six to eight weeks after the MSP office receives the completed form. In the first 60 days after birth, your baby will get medical care using your medical number. Visit the Ministry of Health website for more information about baby enrolment in MSP.
Arranging for Drug Coverage
Fair PharmaCare Coverage gives financial help with prescription drugs costs. To register for Fair PharmaCare financial help you must have:
- lived in British Columbia for at least three months
- medical services coverage with the MSP of British Columbia
- sent in an income tax return for the right taxation year
If you are already registered, your baby will automatically be registered. If you need information or wish to register, phone the PharmaCare Program. Look in the Provincial section of the phone book blue pages or visit the Ministry of Health website. PharmaCare offers a voluntary Monthly Deductible Payment Option. For more information, contact the Fair PharmaCare Registration toll‑free at 1‑800‑663‑7100.