Canadian Parliament Amends Marriage Act

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Marriage records (known as licenses) in Canada generally provide the date of the marriage, the names of the people getting married, their occupation, place of residence, the name of their parents, the occupations and places of residence or names of previous spouses, and the names of the witnesses of the marriage.

Marriage records (licenses) are the responsibility of the provincial government. Here are the provincial archives, of which some carry licenses -

  • British Columbia - There are no marriage licenses for this province.
  • Alberta - There are no marriage licenses for this province.
  • Saskatchewan - There are no marriage licenses for this province.
  • Manitoba - There are no marriages licenses for this province.
  • Ontario - The Archives of Ontario are available for the years 1907 and 1910.
  • Quebec - The archives nationales du Quebec, Quebec City, hold marriage licenses from 1872 to 31 March, 1969 for the entire province of Quebec.
  • New Brunswick - There are no marriage licenses for this province.
  • Nova Scotia - The Nova Scotia Archives and Records Management hold marriage licenses for 1849 to 1918.
  • Prince Edward Island - The Public Archives and Records Office holds marriage licenses from 1787 to 1919.
  • Newfoundland and Labrador - These are no marriage licenses for this province.
  • Northwest Territories - There are some marriage licenses issued by the Royal Mounted Police from 1951 to 1953.
  • Nunavut - Marriage licenses are held in Northwest Territories Archives.
  • Yukon - The Yukon Archives¬† holds the marriage license for the Anglican Church, Diocese of Yukon, from 1903 to 1927, and also for St. Paul's Anglican Church, Dawson City from 1910 to 1964.
There are geographical societies in Canada which carry old church records (and which have marriage licenses in them), so it is best to check with them also.

On June 29, 2005, the Canadian House of Commons passed the Civil Marriage Act <http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/news/nr/2005/doc_31376.html> in which same sexes are now allowed to marry. Canada is the fourth country to pronounce same-sex marriage legal, behind the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. When Prime Minister Paul Martin was asked on Wednesday, June 30th, if this influenced other countries, he said he didn't believe so. He believes that each country makes up its own mind when it comes to such sensitive issues as same-sex marriage. The Library and Archives holds the original marriage bonds on microfilm. Each bond consists of a pre-printed form in English of one page.

The vote was tallied at 158 to 133 in the Canadian House of Commons, with the minority Liberal government winning the day (with the added votes of the Bloc Quebecois and the New Democratic Party), with the Conservatives voting against the government. It was given Royal Assent later in July.

The Ontario Genealogical Society has taken no position on the Civil Marriage Act, as "genealogy already deals with adoptive and biological parents, married and common-law couples, single parent families, and any other domestic arrangements so far encountered. Same sex marriage does not present any more difficulties than these do ... individuals will decide how to represent, or to omit, partners of relatives, as, in fact, they already do."

In Ontario, of the 3,000 same sex couples which have been married by churches and provincial municipal commissioners, approximately 1,000 of these were from the United States.

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