Manitoba Vital Statistics resolves backlog of document requests

For Jessica Audy, it took forever for proof of the birth of her child to finally arrive.

“The wait was frustrating, hence the very many calls they got from me,” Audy said.

After a failed attempt to apply for her daughter’s birth certificate by mail in January 2020, Audy re-applied online towards the end of 2020.

After months of waiting and multiple phone calls to Manitoba’s Vital Statistics Branch, there was still no birth certificate until 2021.

“Most of the time I would call to say there were too many people in the queue and it kicked me out of the queue after about 45 minutes of waiting,” Audy said. “Or I would get an answering machine and there would be no one there.”

During the pandemic, the branch faced a backlog of registrations and issuance of birth, death and marriage certificates.

According to vital statistics, birth certificates may be required to access provincial or federal programs, or to apply for a passport, health card or social insurance number.

Audy said a deadline for her husband’s health cover came and went while they waited.

“This deadline was very stressful and very heavy,” Audy said.

Other parents said they faced similar expectations and experiences when trying to contact the branch.

The province said that as of October 2021, 99.99% of the backlog of certificates to be processed between August 2020 and March 2021 had been eliminated.

In a statement, it said more staff had been hired and thousands more certificates had been issued last year compared to 2020.

“From January 2020 to December 2020, Vital Statistics issued 33,892 birth certificates, 6,952 marriage certificates and 7,327 death certificates. From January 2021 to December 2021, Vital Statistics issued 50,284 birth certificates, 10,717 marriage certificates and 10,959 death certificates,” the statement read.

According to the Vital Statistics website, average weekly turnaround times in December and January were in the low single digits:

2021-12-20 to 2021-12-26


2021-12-27 to 2022-01-02


2022-01-03 to 2022-01-09


2022-01-10 to 2022-01-16


2022-01-17 to 2022-01-23


2022-01-24 to 2022-01-30


Jessica Audy said the birth certificate finally arrived in January. Her daughter is now two years old. She has another child on the way and hopes there will be no repeat.

“Especially with a second pandemic baby on the way, that’s definitely a concern,” Audy said.

The cost of a certificate is $30 and a rushed certificate costs $65. The branch website indicates that the expedited service for processing applications is three business days.