My “new” driver’s license signature

UPDATE: I changed my last name after getting married (and had to get a new driver’s license and health card) and I have snuck the smiley face back in! Check out my Home Design + DIY Blog to see how it looks 🙂

Today I went to renew my Ontario driver’s license.  It has actually been the third time in less than three years, which has gotten to be a little annoying.  See, you’re supposed to just have to renew it once every five years… but somewhere along the lines of changing my address, i guess they just moved the renew date up.  But that’s besides the point!

Now, in Ontario you have a three stage driver’s license; your G1 (like a beginners, you need to drive with an adult, etc), G2, a bit more freedom, and then your G which is your full license.  I got my G1… in… let’s say…. 2005?  So my full G in 2007, and then renewed the first time in 2010.

So now to present day!  I went in to the Service Ontario location for my renewal, and needed to take both a new picture and resign a new signature.  First attempt I had scribbled on the outer edge, so I had to do it again.  After handing the signature over to the teller (desk person? not sure if teller is just for banks…), yes anyways they informed me that my signature needed to be redone as it contained an invalid character (referring to the little smiley face i add at the end, just a little mouth and two eyes).

This is where I freaked out (internally of course).  I was pretty much dumb-founded since I had never heard of this rule… this conversation ensued:

Me: But that’s how I signed it the last time
Teller: They’ve changed the rules now and you cannot have symbols such as faces, hearts, etc.
Me: But it’s on my passport and everything
Teller: Well it probably shouldn’t be

I then proceeded to sign it without the added smile (almost an impossible task I must add, since I have been so used to it that way for over 10 years).  I left the location and then returned to a computer with… the internet!  Determined to read the actual regulations on signatures.  After a quick Google and Service Ontario website search, I couldn’t find anything specifically stating any rules about signatures.  I then checked the Passport Canada website to see what their passport signature rules were:

SIGNATURE: You must sign your usual signature on both pages. Your signature in section 1 will appear in the passport. Therefore, your signature must not exceed the inner limits of the signature box.

Basically, as long as your “USUAL” signature fits within the little square, you are good to go.

I thennnnnn decided to call Service Ontario to see where I could find detailed information about their signature policies.  I asked the operator if they knew of any rules or regulations surrounding signatures, and specifically the use of symbols in your signature.  They replied that they had not, but decided to go ask a superior for more detail.  After being on hold, they returned and informed me that yes they had in fact changed the rules and they no longer allow these characters etc.

My next question: Well that’s strange, when did you change the rules, since I have gotten my license renewed less than three years before?
Operator: Not sure, but they did change them
Me: Can you find any documents online where the new regulations are written
(some wait while an online search must have ensued)
Operator: No I can’t find anything online
Me: Ok well thank you anyways


Ok, now this may seem like a long rant about me complaining that I can no longer have a smiley face in my name.  Well, it sort of is, but I think the bigger issue is the lack of evidence to back up their new rules.  As in, no one knows when they changed the rule, and there is no guide online to explain them.  (For example, check out the Passport Canada Photo Guidelines).

So… if the original teller was correct in saying that my passport signature should also not have a smiley face, does that mean I will need to do the lengthy renewal process for that as well?  What about my debit card?  Credit card?  (Just got a new one for this and am still having issues!).  What about all the lottery cards I sign with my “invalid” signature?  If i win a million dollars, will OLG tell me that I can’t claim my prize because my signature doesn’t match my driver’s license?

I think the deeper issue is that i’m not just losing a small “symbol” on my name… it’s a part of who I am!  I like when I sign (official and/or less official) documents and people ask me “is that seriously a smiley face on your signature?”, and i proudly beam “Of course it is!  And it’s officially my signature since it is on my driver’s license and passport too!”  Now what?  I’m just some regular signature?  (And by the way… don’t even get me started on people who just use lines for their signature… isn’t that a “symbol” Service Ontario?)

I was even planning on incorporating the smiley face into my (soon to be) changed last name… but now what?  Do i give it up altogether, or rebel and use it everywhere?  I’m so lost! (Cue Air Supplie’s “I’m all out of love”).

And, to see an example of my now “banned” smiley face, you can see my first name only signature on my website, as it acts as the home button.

– Distraught and lost

UPDATE: I changed my last name after getting married (and had to get a new driver’s license and health card) and I have snuck the smiley face back in!  Check out my Home Design + DIY Blog to see how it looks 🙂

One thought on “My “new” driver’s license signature

  1. Lindsay

    Oh Nicole…

    But in all seriousness, my signature literally looks different every time I sign something. So my driver’s license doesn’t match my credit cards or passport! So I wouldn’t worry about things not matching.

    Oo! What about Kei$ha? Would she have to sign her name KeiSha? Interesting…

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