Marriage, Civil Partnerships and Cohabitation in Canada

Find out about getting married in Canada including the process involved, the validity of the marriage in other countries and the recognition of gay marriage...

Getting married in Canada is fairly straightforward. Even though the federal government has overall authority governing marriage and divorce in Canada, the provinces/territories are responsible for establishing laws to regulate and solemnise marriage. Therefore, requirements for marriage vary according to the province/territory in which a person wishes to get married.

As long as provincial requirements are met, anyone can get married in Canada, including same- sex couples. Same-sex marriage is recognised across Canada, with the couple being able to choose to follow either a religious or civil ceremony.

There are no residency requirements to get married in Canada.

Marriage in Canada does not offer permanent residency rights. Canadian immigration services require proof of a relationship through official documents and consider each case individually. Canadian immigration is very careful to what is suspected to be an arranged marriage for immigration purposes. Thus, even a married couple, especially new ones, will have to provide solid evidence as to the reality prior to their relationship. Partners who recently met and who intend to marry in Canada have no chance to obtain permanent residence.

Canadian Citizens planning to be married in a foreign country, should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of the country where the marriage will occur to determine the legal requirements. Canadian government offices abroad can also provide information about laws and regulations in the countries where they are located.