British Columbia Adoption Search (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Canadian Vital Statistics Records Part 2  by by Sharon L. Murphy. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

British Columbia Adoption Search[edit | edit source]

In British Columbia the access to information contained in adoption records is now possible. The new Adoption Act took effect 4 November 1996 and allows for the release of what was previously considered private information. An adult adoptee can now apply to the Vital Statistics Agency to obtain a copy of their birth registration and adoption order. These documents will include the name of their birth parents at the time of birth.

Birth parents of adopted people, who are 19 years of age or older, may also apply to the Vital Statistics Agency for a copy of the adopted person’s birth registration and adoption order to learn the person’s name on adoption. Birth fathers cannot access the original birth registration unless they are named on the document.

This is a major breakthrough in the world of the adoptee/birth parent in their search for each other. The new Act does strike a balance, however, between providing access to information and respecting past promises of confidentiality in the legislation. Individuals wishing to maintain their privacy under the new Act have the option of filing a disclosure veto, or a no-contact declaration.

The Vital Statistics Agency will not release any identifying information in its records respecting a person who has filed a disclosure veto. If an adopted person or birth parent has filed a no-contact declaration, the Agency will not release identifying information in its records to the other person, until that person has signed a legal undertaking that they will not contact the person who has filed the no-contact declaration and not before this undertaking has been processed. If there has been a written statement made by the other party, it will accompany the information.

Before any adoption record is released to a birth parent, all identifying information pertaining to adoptive parents is deleted to protect their right to privacy.

The Vital Statistics Agency has an Adoption information line that can answer questions regarding adoption registration and releasing adoption records. If you require assistance please call 250 952-9057.

Information and Records Services Branch (IRSB)[edit | edit source]

IRSB will provide adopted adults and birth parents with information from the adoption file. This information is accessed under and governed by the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Contact IRSB for more information as to what this file will contain. Their address is:

Information Privacy and Records Services Branch
Ministry of Children and Family Development
P.O. Box 9702, Stn. Prov Govt.
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9S1
Telephone: 250-387-0820

Application for Service[edit | edit source]

For each search of records and a copy of a birth registration and adoption order the genealogy search fee of $50.00 will apply. As proof of identity, applicants are required to attach a photocopy of their birth certificate to the Application for Service Pertaining to an Adopted person or Birth Parent Form. All applicants are requested to fill out this form to the best of their ability. The form is available on the British Columbia Vital Statistics Agency website.

After the information requested has been received what happens? You now may have discovered the names of the people you were looking for but chances are they are no longer living at the location they were over 19 years ago. The next step is to contact the Adoption Reunion Registry. This Registry is under contract to the British Columbia Provincial government and has a legislated mandate to provide search, intermediary and counseling services to those whose lives have been affected by a British Columbia Adoption.

Adoption Reunion Registry[edit | edit source]

The Adoption Reunion Registry has been operated by Family Services since 1991.

Adoption Reunion Registry
P.O. Box 9705 Prov Govt
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9S1
Telephone: 250-387-3660
Toll free in North America: 1-877-387-3660


Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online courses Canadian Vital Statistics Records Part 2 offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about these courses or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at

We welcome updates and additions to this Wiki page.