A few days after Elizabeth came home from the hospital, Brendan and I began the process of filling out the reams of paperwork that is required when you have a new baby. The actual amount of paperwork is actually not so bad; it just seems like a lot when you are really sleep deprived and prone to entering your mother's maiden name instead of your own when you see a field labelled "Mother's maiden name"...
The online process for submitting said paperwork is both streamlined and completely clumsy. In theory, you can submit your "statement of live birth", request birth certificates and apply for a social insurance number all in one shot. In practice it turned out that we had to print out part of the application and mail it to our municipality, because although Ottawa calls itself "Silicon Valley North", it is not one of the municipalities that can accept birth certificate registrations online.
Regardless, the process did work and we received two extremely large shipping envelopes from Purolator this morning. Each large envelope contained a much smaller envelope with official proof of Elizabeth's birth! I'm not quite sure why they didn't combine both into a single package but I guess the system isn't designed to save on envelopes and shipping.
We opted to get both long and short forms just in case Elizabeth ever needs to prove her citizenship (yes, we did learn something from the "Brendan is a dangerous criminal or at least not entitled to a passport" saga).
Back in the day the short form birth certificate used to be a laminated card. New birth certificates are much flimsier because they are made of paper. There must be some kind of new security measure that doesn't work well with lamination because the certificate has a stern warning against do-it-yourself lamination, which would apparently void the birth certificate altogether.
We were slightly unsure about what to put for "Birth attendant" since we were given the choice of "Obstetrician" or "Midwife" and we actually ended up with both. We ended up putting down our midwife since she was in charge of the baby - this was the correct choice because the person who processed the certificates added the obstetrician "as per hospital records".
Since I'm criticizing the registration process, I do have to say that it was much less convoluted than the tax credit application, which required us to fill out forms online, register for a government "epass", wait for our user name and password to be mailed to us in two separate mailings and then fax CRA a form swearing that Brendan and I are actually married. The last requirement was the silliest in my opinion - CRA has processed eight tax returns that claim we are married without batting an eyelash.
So we now have a health card and birth certificates for Elizabeth, and we're still waiting for a social insurance number and for the paperwork pertaining to various child tax credits to be processed. Somehow the social insurance number doesn't seem very urgent :)