How to Get Married in Ontario?

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This lecture explains the eligibility criteria and basic steps to getting married in Ontario. Marriage Act: Religious officiants’ list:

This lecture is taught by Amer Mushtaq, LL.B., M. Engineering , B.Sc. (Hons.), who is the Principal and Founder of Formative LLP.   Through his YouTube channel, YouCounsel, Amer shares practical advice from his years of legal experience to help anyone access justice and achieve their goals.  Subscribe today to learn more.


Show Notes:


Lecture Slides:

Welcome to YouCounsel.

In the last few lectures we have been discussing issues relating to family law. We have talked about legislation and procedures and whatnot.  Most of the family law disputes are between people who are married or who are in common-law relationships. So, I thought it would make sense to explain how a person or two people can get married legally in Ontario.

We begin again with our usual disclaimer that this lecture is not legal advice.  If you have any specific questions you should contact a lawyer or a paralegal or the Law Society of Ontario for a referral.

Who is eligible to marry in Ontario? Marriage Act is the legislation that deals with marriages in Ontario.  That Act provides for the eligibility:

  1. a person/ two people who are 16 years or older they can get married.
  2. if those individuals or any one of those individuals is under the age of 18 years, then those people / those individuals need a written consent of both parents. If one of the parent has died or parents are living apart, then the parent who has the actual legal custody of the minor can give consent.  In certain circumstances the consent may be dispensed with but you’ll have to bring an application to a judge and that can be taken care of.
  3. another eligibility requirement is that there should not be any lawful reason which will prevent the solemnization of the marriage. One example is mental incapacity. Another example, and I did not know this until I researched this case, that there is an Act called Marriage (Prohibited degrees) Act. That Act actually provides what are the kinds of people who cannot marry each other—which makes sense to us on a commonsense basis.  People who are related lineally (i.e, parents, children, grandkids) – that’s a linear relationship—those are not allowed to marry. Brothers and sisters, of course, half-brother, half-sister and half brother / half sister including by way of adoption—these are people who are not permitted to marry.  This is a specific statute that basically says that these are people who are not allowed to marry and if they marry their marriage will be considered void.
  4. mental incapacity: I noticed a very interesting clause / a section in the Marriage Act. And I thought I’ll bring it to your attention.  That is section 7, which basically says that if you are intoxicated by way of drinking liquor or consuming liquor or drugs at the time of your marriage ceremony, then the official who is conducting the ceremony should not solemnize the marriage / should not issue a license because the person is intoxicated.  Remember that when you attend a marriage ceremony you should not be drunk or intoxicated in any other way.  After the marriage ceremony obviously, should be Ok.

Steps to marry: Pretty straightforward:

  1. Number one: you will have to obtain a marriage license and then you attend a marriage ceremony.
  2. The license is valid only for 90 days so within 90 days you have to attend marriage ceremony or obtain your license once you have decided when you intend to attend your marriage ceremony.
  3. Then finally once your ceremony is over the official will register your marriage and then you can obtain a marriage certificate.
  4. For the marriage license you submit a marriage license application form. It’s a pretty straight forward form. I looked it up quickly. Here is this marriage license application form.  It requires information for both partners—applicant, joint applicant and you fill this out; you pay a fee $125.00; you attend at the office of the municipality and then you pay that fee; you’ll have to carry two pieces of government issued I.D.’s (one has to have a picture on that I.D.). 
  5. Then you attend the ceremony. The ceremony could be civil or religious
  6. It is performed (the ceremony needs to be performed) by a person who is authorized under the Marriage Act – could be a judge, justice of peace, city clerk or a religious official. If you’re using a religious official you want to make sure that that person is actually registered or authorized under Marriage Act. You go to this link and you will see that there is a list available for download or review: –  which takes the name of all the religious officials who are allowed to perform the ceremonies in Ontario.

In the ceremony, both parties must attend. You cannot get married over the phone or internet. Then once the ceremony is complete the official will register the marriage. Once the marriage is registered, you can apply for a marriage certificate. Again it’s a straightforward process you can go to this website. I’ve provided the link in the video.  You can go there and you will see that when you scroll down there is a link for ordering a marriage certificate online.  You can click on that and then fill out the form and obtain your marriage certificate.

That explains how a marriage is officially / lawfully done in Canada and in Ontario and in the next lectures we will talk about further issues relating Family Law.

Thank-you for watching.

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