UVSS successfully advocates for ONECard name change

Campus News

The option is available for two-spirit, trans, non-binary, gender nonconforming, or recently married students

Graphic by Sie Douglas-Fish.

As of Nov. 24, 2021, the University of Victoria has added the option for students to update their ONECard to accurately reflect a change in name.

The option is available at no charge to students who have changed their name to reflect their gender identity — namely, for two-spirit, trans, non-binary, or gender nonconforming students — even if they haven’t legally changed their name. The option is also for those who have been married. 

Effy Taylor, Pride representative for the UVSS board of directors, spoke with the Martlet about what the change means to them.

“It’s a big step, especially for trans students, because legally changing your name is quite difficult … it’s just a long, arduous deal.”

Legally changing one’s name in B.C. can be a lengthy process, requiring fingerprinting, a criminal record check, and certifying documents. To be eligible, applicants must be 19 years of age or older, and have lived in B.C. for at least three months prior to the application date. The cost of application is $137, excluding the costs of acquiring documents, or replacing old identification. On average, the application takes six to eight weeks to process.

A separate option is available for reclamation of an Indigenous name with a possible waiver of some of the associated fees.

“Being able to change your name, especially on university documents … it’s a really big deal, especially even just looking at your card,” said Taylor. 

Taylor told the Martlet they plan to update their ONECard soon. At the time of interview, their deadname was being displayed on their card. 

The change was spearheaded by Q Roxas, former director of events with the UVSS. In 2021, they approached the university to advocate for a more inclusive policy where students could change their ONECard name to affirm their gender identity.

“When I first got my ONECard updated,” said the former director in a UVSS statement, “I felt such gender euphoria and showed my ONECard to everyone in the office and sent photos to my loved ones. Many queer folks who have changed their name experience distress when they look at their IDs, their vaccine passports, or their academic transcripts.”

To change their ONECard name, students will need to update their “Preferred name” on their Online Tools at least 24 hours before requesting a new card. Once this is done, they can pick up a new card at the ONECard Office in the Jamie Cassels Centre.

According to the university, the ONECard system cannot print any special symbols or numbers, including characters from different languages. They have not allowed any titles, such as Sir, or suggestive words.

The new cost-free card can be issued only once. If your new ONECard is lost or damaged, you will be required to pay the $20 replacement fee.

“I’m happy I can be affirmed in who I am everyday when I bus to school or buy my lunch at the SUB,” wrote Q Roxas. “Thank you to the ONECard office and other UVic departments who collaborated to make this policy happen.”