Where Did You Come From?

Ministry of Government Services

Date: 2009

Where Did You Come From?A 55-year-old woman had been trying for eight years to obtain a birth certificate so she could apply for a passport and take a trip outside Canada with her husband. She was told that her birth had never been registered. The Registrar General’s office repeatedly asked her for information to prove she had been born in Ontario.

The Ombudsman’s Office contacted the Office of the Registrar General on the woman’s behalf. Its staff maintained that there was insufficient proof of her claim that she had been born in a particular hospital, because they had a letter from the hospital indicating that it only kept medical records for 10 years. However, after Ombudsman staff asked the hospital’s health records department to see if there was any record at all of the woman’s birth, the search turned up a small index card that showed she had in fact been born there.

Thanks to the index card, the woman received her long-awaited birth certificate and was able to plan her trip. She noted that the “little guy” has so much trouble trying to resolve issues with the government that sometimes it takes the  Ombudsman to come the rescue.

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