Content Map Terms

Important Paperwork for Newborns


woman holding newborn baby while doctor examines



Like any new enterprise, having a baby comes with its share of paperwork. Here's what you need to know about registering your baby's birth and signing up for various benefits.

Birth registration

A birth registration is a legal document completed and submitted for every baby born in B.C. It creates an official record of your baby's birth and legal name, and identifies you as the parent(s).

By law, you must register your child within 30 days of the birth. There is no cost, unless you wait longer than 30 days. Then you may be charged a fee.

The hospital where you have your baby - or your midwife, if your baby's born at home - will give you a copy of the Online Birth Registration brochure from the B.C. Vital Statistics Agency. The brochure provides information about:

  • registering your baby's birth and legal name
  • applying for your baby's first birth certificate
  • enrolling your baby in the Medical Services Plan for BC Residents
  • applying for Canada Child Benefits
  • applying for your baby's Social Insurance Number

There is a fee for ordering a birth certificate. Visit the Vital Statistics website for more information about birth certificates and birth registration. You can also call Customer Service at 250-952-2681 (Victoria & outside BC) or Toll Free at 1-888-876-1633 (within BC)

Choosing a Name: You can choose any name you like for your baby, as long as it includes a first name (given name) and a last name (surname). The baby's surname can be different from the mother or father's surname or include two surnames, hyphenated or combined together. You can also give your baby one or more middle names.

Medical benefits

The B.C. Medical Services Plan (MSP) has a special registration form for babies. It should be completed and sent within 60 days of your baby's birth.

You can get the form online, or from your hospital or midwife. Follow the directions, submit the completed form - and you're done.

Your baby's very own B.C. CareCard will be sent to you six to eight weeks after the MSP office receives the completed form. In the meantime, your baby can receive medical coverage under your medical number. Visit the Ministry of Health website for more information about baby enrolment in MSP.

Prescription drug coverage

Do you need help with prescription drug costs? If you're not signed up already, you and your baby may qualify for Fair PharmaCare, which offers financial assistance with prescription drug costs. To register, you must have:

  • medical services coverage with the B.C. Medical Services Plan
  • have filed an up-to-date income tax return 

If you're already registered, your baby will automatically be registered as well.

PharmaCare also offers a voluntary Monthly Deductible Payment Option. For more information, visit the Ministry of Health website or contact Fair PharmaCare Registration toll free at 1-800-663-7100.

Child tax benefits

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is a tax-free monthly payment made to eligible families to help with the cost of raising children under age 18. You can apply for the benefit by checking the consent box in the Release of Information section on the back of the Registration of Live Birth form.

If you consent, the following information will be sent to the Canada Revenue Agency:

  • mother's name, date of birth, place of birth, Social Insurance Number 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 CCTB , any related B.C. 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, which provides monthly payments to parents to help with the cost of caring for children under six.

For more information about Canada Child Benefits, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website or call 1-800-387-1193.

Last Updated: August 2, 2013