Before a German passport can be issued, the name of a person according to German law must be checked. If a name is listed on a German birth certificate, there are usually no issues. Many times, a birth name according to German law is not automatically the name that is listed on the non-German birth certificate. In such cases, a person might not have a last name yet according to German law and has to declare a name first. Another possibility is that the name in non-German documents is different from the one according German law. Sometimes, a name change according to German law is possible which is done by a separate name declaration.
A name declaration is also needed if a person wants to take on a new family name after marriage or give up a previous family name after a divorce.
Any name changes done by Canadian authorities are not valid for the use in Germany for German citizens and have to be re-done in front of a German authority.