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How To Name Your Baby In Quebec — Yes, There Are Rules

In the province of hyphenations, rules exist for both first and last names.

Contributing Writer
How To Name Your Baby In Quebec — Yes, There Are Rules

Ah, baby names. It seems like everybody wants to race to the most unique name, and in doing so everyone ends up naming their kids the same thing. As it turns out, there are rules in Quebec around naming your baby that put some constraints on just how creative new parents can get.

First of all, there's the matter of how many names you give your child. The website Educaloi recommends a maximum of four first names. If you want your kid to have a combined first name (Marc-Philippe, Jean-Luc, etc.), the names should be hyphenated.

And this probably goes without saying, but the name that comes first on the baby's birth certificate should be the name that they go by in their day-to-day lives.

One parent's last name can legally be a first name of the child. If the parents absolutely cannot agree on a first name for the baby, the civil status registrar can intervene and assign the child two first names, one chosen by each parent. (But really, with all the names that exist, and all the names that people just make up, surely two people who are bringing a child into the world together should be able to find a name they both like.)

While creativity is of course allowed, there are limits to what you can name your baby. The government can intervene if the baby's name "lends itself to ridicule or is likely to bring the child into disrepute." Failing to change the name could land you in court.

On to last names — a tricky subject in this province of hyphenations. The child's last name must consist of the last name(s) of one or both of their parents.

A parent's first name cannot be used as a last name, nor can an initial. Hyphenated last names are limited to two names, so if one or both parents are hyphenates, the child can have any combination of two last names the parents decide on.

Interestingly, if a couple has more than one child, they aren't obliged to give them the same last name — so there's additional room for creativity there if the fancy strikes.

This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

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