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How do we get married in Ontario?

To get married in Ontario, you usually must first apply for a marriage licence from the Ontario government. To do this, you must:

Once you get a marriage licence, you and your partner must have a marriage ceremony within 90 days. This can be a religious or civil ceremony.

Your ceremony must also be performed by someone with the legal power to marry people, such as a judge, justice of the peace, or religious official.

Both you and your partner must attend the marriage ceremony. You cannot get married over the phone or Internet. You can’t have someone else go to the ceremony for you.

After you get married, you can apply for a marriage certificate to prove that you are married. It is a good idea to keep your marriage certificate in a safe place. You might need it to do things like:

  • apply for certain social benefits
  • settle an estate after someone dies
  • change your last name
  • get divorced
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Next Steps: 

1. Check if you and your partner can get married

You can marry a partner who is the same sex or the opposite sex. You don’t need to live in Ontario to get married in Ontario. You also don’t need to be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

To get married in Ontario, you must be 16 years of age or older. If you are 16 or 17, you usually need written permission from both of your parents. If your parents are separated, usually only the parent who has custody needs to give permission. If you are 18 or older, you don’t need permission from your parents.

You and your partner cannot be married to anybody else, when you marry each other. If you were married before, you have to show proof of one of the following:

You cannot be married to more than one person at a time. The law in Canada doesn’t allow more than two people to marry one another.

You and your partner must not be closely related, by blood or by adoption. This means that you cannot marry a brother or sister, half brother or sister, parent, grandparent, child, or grandchild.

You and your partner must agree to get married. You cannot be forced into it.

And you must understand what it means to get married. This means both of you know that some of your rights and responsibilities change when you get married..

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2. Get a marriage licence

To get married, you usually must apply for a marriage licence from the Ontario government.

Sometimes you can use a banns form or publication of banns instead of a marriage license. A banns is a publication some Christian churches use to announce the names of couples who plan to marry. You can ask your priest or minister about this. You can’t use a banns if you or your partner have been married before.

A marriage licence is not the same thing as a marriage certificate. You can apply for a marriage certificate after you are married. See Step 5 below on how to get a marriage certificate.

How to apply for a marriage licence

To apply for a marriage licence, you need to fill out a Marriage Licence Application formwith your partner. You must include information about both of you and say when and where you plan to get married. Both of you must sign this form.

Take your completed Marriage License Application Form to any city hall, town hall, or municipal office in Ontario. You can apply at your local office, even if you plan to get married in a different city in Ontario.

Also bring 2 pieces of government-issued identification for each of you. One piece of identification must include your photo. For example, you can bring a passport, record of immigrant landing, or driver’s licence.

Ask the city, town, or municipality what type of identification they accept. You should also check if you need to make an appointment or if you can go at any time when their office is open.

Only one of you needs to go in person but you need to bring original identification for both partners.

You must pay a fee. The amount depends on the city, town, or municipality. The fee is about $150.

Once you have a marriage licence, you must have the ceremony within 90 days of the date you got the license.

Applying to remarry after a divorce

If you apply to remarry after a divorce, you need to bring proof of your divorce when you apply for your marriage license. The proof you need to bring depends on whether you were divorced in Canada or in another country.

If you got divorced in another country, the Ontario government:

  • asks for more documents,
  • usually needs more time to check if your divorce documents are valid. It can take up to 4 weeks.
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3. Find someone to perform the marriage ceremony

Your marriage ceremony can be a religious or civil ceremony. But, you have to make sure that the person who performs the ceremony is legally able to marry you and your partner.A recognized religious official can perform the ceremony which is usually in a place of worship. You can look online for a list of people who are recognizedYou can also be married by a judge, justice of the peace, or authorized municipal clerk, often at a local municipal office, city hall, or courthouse. Look online for your nearest city hall, town hall, or municipal office.Couples usually decide what type of ceremony they want before they look for someone to perform the ceremony. For example, they might decide that it is important for them to be married in their local church, synagogue, temple, or mosque.

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4. Go to your marriage ceremony

You cannot get married by phone, over the Internet, or by having someone else go to the ceremony for you. You have to be there in person.

You also need at least 2 adults to be witnesses at your ceremony.

Your ceremony can be a religious one or a civil one.  A religious ceremony is usually held in a place of worship, such as a church, synagogue, mosque, or temple.  A civil ceremony can be held at city hall, or somewhere private like a restaurant or someone’s home.

You and your spouse, your witnesses, and the person who performed the ceremony all need to sign your marriage licence.

The person who performed the ceremony registers the marriage by sending a complete and signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario.

Some people chose to get married abroad, for example at a “destination wedding” in another country. If you want to get married outside of Ontario, see How do we get married outside of Ontario?

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5. Get a marriage certificate if you need it

A marriage certificate is the legal record of a marriage. It lists the names of the people who were married, the date, and the place of the marriage.

A marriage certificate is not the same as a Record of Solemnization of Marriage, which the person who performed your ceremony might give you afterwards. You can keep this record as a souvenir but it is not legal proof of your marriage.

A marriage certificate is not the same as a marriage licence. You apply for a marriage licence before you get married. But you apply for a marriage certificate after you get married.

Why you might need a marriage certificate

You need your marriage certificate to:

  • show legal proof you are married
  • get divorced
  • apply for certain social benefits
  • settle an estate after someone dies
  • change your last name

How to get a marriage certificate

If you got married in Ontario, you can order a marriage certificate:

  • online
  • by mail or fax
  • in person
  • by telephone

You have to give the following information when you order it:

  • you and your partner’s first and last names
  • the date you got married, and
  • the name of the city or town you got married in

You have to pay a fee when you order a marriage certificate.

Online

Fill out ServiceOntario’s online application form and pay the fee with your credit card.

By mail or fax

Download a Marriage Certificate Application Form or pick one up from a municipal office or city hall. Or call the Office of the Registrar General at 1-800-461-2156 (toll-free) or 416-325-8305 (within Toronto) and ask to have the form mailed to you.

Fill out the form, and mail it to the address below. If you want to pay the fee by cheque, make the cheque out to "Minister of Finance". If you want to pay the fee by credit card, write your credit card number on the form.

Office of the Registrar General
PO Box 4600
189 Red River Road
Thunder Bay
P7B 6L8

Or, you can fax the form and your credit card number to 1-807-343-7459.

In person

You can apply in person in Toronto and Ottawa only.

Download a Marriage Certificate Application Form or pick one up from a municipal office or city hall.

Fill out the form and take it to the address on the application form. If you want to pay the fee by cheque, make the cheque out to "Minister of Finance". If you want to pay the fee by credit card, write your credit card number on the form.

By telephone
Call:
  • ServiceOntario at 1-800-267-8097 (toll-free) or 416-326-1234 (within Toronto), or
  • the Registrar General of Ontario at 1-800-461-2156 (toll-free) or 416-325-8305 (within Toronto).

Pay the fee with your credit card.

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Reviewed: 
July, 2016

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