Marriage regulations in Canada are governed at the provincial level. The following notes are provided for information, however, it should be noted that regulations change without notice. It is advisable to contact the city/town/village hall of the place where you intend the marriage to take place, to find whether any municipal regulations might also apply. You may also wish to contact the appropriate provincial vital statistics office for information on obtaining marriage certificates and applying for a marriage license.
Applying for a marriage license
A marriage license is required before getting married. The license itself does not mean that you are married but that you can get married, within that province, at any time during the next three months. To obtain a license you must apply in person to the marriage license issuer in the community in which you intend to get married. The Director of Vital Statistics will provide a list of issuers for a particular area on request. Only one of you need apply for the license but you will need to supply the relevant documents for both partners. As well, a fee will be required at the time of the application. Please contact the appropriate Vital Statistics Office beforehand in order
to confirm these details.
The Marriage Ceremony
You may choose to have either a religious or civil ceremony, either type must be witnessed by at least two people. Religious ceremonies can be performed by any religious representatives registered with the Division of Vital Statistics under the Marriage Act for that Province. Civil ceremonies are performed by Marriage Commissioners, who are appointed by the Director of Vital Statistics and a fee is charged for this type of ceremony.
Registering the Marriage
The religious representative or Marriage Commissioner who performs your wedding ceremony will also assist you in completing the necessary Marriage Registration Forms. These are then sent to the Division of Vital Statistics where your marriage is registered and a legal record is kept.
At the time of the marriage you may be provided with a statement of marriage. This is a document that can be used in the interim period to show that you are legally married. However, you should apply for your marriage certificate from the Director of Vital Statistics, again there is a fee for obtaining a marriage certificate and you should contact the Vital Statistics Office in order to find out the cost.
The following information provides contact details for each province: