Searching in Canada




In Canada, adoption and adoption disclosure are provincial matters. You must apply to the province where the adoption was FINALIZED in order to obtain any information about that adoption. In most provinces you are entitled to non-identifying background information and may register in a matching registry. Some provide search services, but usually for adoptees only. Waiting lists are very long everywhere and waiting times change all the time. Most legislation is under review.


Post Adoption Registry, Alberta Children’s Services,
11th Floor, Sterling Place, 9940-106 St.
Edmonton, Alberta, T5K 2N2
Telephone: 780-427-6387

New legislation in effect November 1, 2004. Adoption records are open to both adoptees and birth parents. A matching registry and non-identifying information are available. If an adoptee does not know about his adoption, adoptive parents can place an information disclosure veto.


In 1996, British Columbia was the first province in Canada to reform its adoption disclosure laws. Both adoptees and birthparents can obtain identifying information (subject to a no contact declaration and, for adoptees, the right to an information veto). Before applying for information, adoptees must first request a copy of their original Birth Certificate from Vital Statistics  (see Step 1 above) for which there is a $50 charge.  Active and Passive matching registries available. Information about the birth or adoptive family is also available, and must be requested through an Access to Information Request.  (see Step 2.) Search services are available to adoptees and birth parents for $250.

Adoption Reunion Registry

PO Box 9657 – Station Prov. Government,
Victoria, BC. V8W 9P3
Telephone:  250-387-3660 or toll-free within North America 1-877-367-3660

Step 1:  Get your original birth record

For information :

The Adoption Reunion Registry has a legislated mandate to provide search, intermediary and support services to those whose lives have been affected by a BC adoption. This web site will tell you about the services, outline step-by-step instructions for registering, and provide you with useful adoption-related information and links.

To obtain your birth record, complete this form. It costs $50.00.


Step 2:  Get information about your adoption, birth family, adoptive family. You may request your adoption file under Access to Information.

For information:

This page explains how to access information about the adoption and pre-adoption parents through the ministry or licensed adoption agency, along with the guidelines for doing so.  For questions about the access process, call 250 387-1321.   This step should be taken after you get the Original Birth records in Step 1.

To apply for access to an adoption record, fill out the “Request to Access for Information form”:

OR mail your written request to:

Information Access Operations
Freedom of Information Request
PO Box 9569 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC
V8W 9K1

For a booklet about self-directed search and reunion,  go to:


MANITOBA:  New legislation came into effect in June 2015.

Manitoba Family Services
Post-Adoption Registry
114 Garry Street
Suite 201
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3C 4V5
Telephone: 204-945-8201

The Adoption Act has been amended. The key changes are as follows:

  • A person who was born in Manitoba, was adopted, and is now an adult may now apply to the director under The Adoption Act for a copy of his or her pre-adoption birth registration and the new registration of birth document that was substituted for it after the adoption. The parent named on the person’s pre-adoption birth registration  (“registered birth parent”) may also apply for those documents, but the copies they get will not show information about the adoptive parents.
  • A person who was born outside Manitoba but adopted here and is now an adult may apply for his or her pre-adoption birth registration information that is available in the director’s records.
  • Disclosure vetoes can be filed only by adopted persons who are 16 or older or their registered birth parents, and only if the adoption was granted in Manitoba  before these amendments take effect, or outside the province.
  • Adult parties to an adoption granted in Manitoba will continue to be able to file contact vetoes until these amendments take effect. However, after these amendments take effect, adopted persons who are 16 or older and their registered birth parents will be able to file a contact preference to specify the contact with the other that they are prepared to have, if any.
  • An aboriginal person who was born in Manitoba and adopted will be able to request that his or her pre-adoption birth registration and identifying information about his or her birth parents be given to another person, or to a government or organization, for the purpose of applying for benefits or services provided to aboriginal persons. These requests are not subject to vetoes or contact preferences.
  • The director under The Adoption Act will operate as the “central desk” for the Vital Statistics Agency and the court in dealing with requests for adoption and pre-adoption birth registration records, information and Manitoba adoption orders. As well, search services offered by the director are expanded.
  • Provisions relating to adoption proceedings in the court will reflect the court’s practice of adoption proceedings being closed to the public.
  • To help protect parties’ privacy rights, the director will be able to disclose identifying information to an appropriate authority in another  jurisdiction to determine if a veto or contact preference has been filed there. The director will also be able to enter into information-sharing agreements with other jurisdictions.
  • Fines for offences under the Act are increased from $20,000 to $50,000, in line with the fines for offences under The Child and Family Services Act.

Vital Statistics Act Amendments

Part 2 of this Bill amends The Vital Statistics Act. The key changes are as follows:

  • Section 10 of the Act, concerning adoption orders and pre-adoption birth registrations is replaced to reflect the increased transparency of these records.
  • The director under The Vital Statistics Act will be allowed to give previously sealed pre-adoption birth registrations and related adoption orders to the director under The Adoption Act so he or she can carry out responsibilities under that Act.
  • As well, the director is given the power to examine registrations or proposed registrations under the Act and to sever information from them if the truthfulness or legitimacy of the information is in doubt.


Post Adoption Disclosure Services
Department of Social Development
PO Box 6000
Fredericton, New Brunswick E3B 5H1
Telephone: 506-453-2152


Active searches will be conducted on behalf of adult adoptees (19 years and over) and also birth parents and siblings at no charge. Non-identifying information will be provided to both adoptees and birth parents. A copy of the Adoption Order with full birth name is available to adoptive parents and adoptees only if they already know the birth name. Search times range from 12 to 18 months.



Until April 2018 when adoption records open, adopted persons do not have the right to access their original birth certificates, nor can natural parents obtain the adopted names of the child they lost to adoption.



Post Adoption Services – Eastern Health
81 Kenmount Road
St John’s, Newfoundland, A1B 4A4
Telephone: 709-752-4406

Adopted persons who were born and adopted in Newfoundland and Labrador will receive a copy of their original birth registration in their birth name (including the name of any birth parent on record) and a copy of their adoption order provided a disclosure veto has not been filed.

Birth parents of people born and adopted in Newfoundland and Labrador will receive a copy of the adopted person’s original birth registration, the adopted person’s birth registration following adoption (including any changes of name consequent to the adoption), and the adoption order.


Adoption Disclosure Services Program,
6009 Quinpool 4th floor
Halifax, Nova Scotia. B3K 5J7
Telephone: 902-424-2755

Active searches are done on behalf of adoptees and birth parents (and birth siblings under limited conditions). Non-identifying information is available to both parties. There is no charge for a search, but there is a waiting time of at least 3 years. An accelerated search can be done in special circumstances. A passive registry is available. Birth last name is not available without birthmother’s permission.


For information, telephone: 1-800-461-2156 or 416-325-8305 or visit the  Service Ontario website under “Searching for Adoption Records”.

Adoptees and birth parents may request identifying information about each other from Vital Statistics in Thunder Bay. Contact and information vetoes are available. Waiting lists are only about 2 weeks. A special search is available to birth relatives and adoptees in cases of severe health issues. A passive Matching Registry is available for adoptees, birthparents, grandparents and siblings. Non-identifying information in redacted form can be obtained from the Children’s Aid Society or agency involved, although there is a long waiting period to get this information.



Post Adoption Registry,
Department of Health and Social Services
161 St. Peter’s St. PO Box 2000
Charlottetown, PEI. C1A 7N8
Main telephone: 902-368-6511 Coordinators: 902-368-6139

Adoptees can request a search for birth family members. The waiting list is about 1 year.  There is no charge for this service. A matching register. is available. Birth mother’s permission is needed for birth name to be released. Priority is given to those aged over 60 and for medical searches.


For information about an adoption finalized in the Province of Quebec, it is necessary to know the exact Social Service Centre (Centre de Jeunesse) involved. Will search on behalf of both adoptees and birth parents. No birth names given.  This is a difficult province to search in as records were routinely falsified in the past. It is advised that you contact one of the Canadian support groups for more information . No search fees are charged since October 2007. For more information go to Searching in Quebec.


Post Adoption Registry,
1920 Broad Street 10th floor
Regina, Saskatchewan S4P 3V6
Telephone: 306-787-3654,  or toll-free 1-800-667-7539

Adopted adults, birth family members, adoptive parents of minors canrequest search and contact services. There is no charge for documents, registry, search and contact or for background information, but there are long waiting times. A copy of the Adoption Order showing birth name is available to adoptees.


Adoption Disclosure Registry
Dept of Health & Human Resources, Box 2703
Whitehorse, Yukon, Y1A 2C6
Telephone: 867- 667-3002

Adoption Services,
Dept of Health & Social Services,
Box 1320-CST-6
Yellowknife, NT, X1A 2L9
Telelephone: 867-873-7943

Northwest Territories:


A new law came into effect in Yukon in May 1, 2010. Adoptees and birth parents can obtain original or amended birth information. Adoptees can request Adoption Orders. Information vetoes and contact preferences are available. Searches and registry are available to both. NWT and Nunavut provide non-identifying information, as well as search and contact services to adoptees and birth parents. Identifying information is released when consent is received from both parties. Contact agencies for more information.



May 27, 2017



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