Getting Married in Ontario

Age minimum

You need to be at least 16 years old to get married in Ontario.

Under 18 years old: you will need written consent from both your parents. You can get consent forms where you get a marriage licence.

Who can perform a marriage in Ontario

Registered marriage officiants

The following persons registered with the Office of the Registrar General as a marriage officiant under the Marriage Act can perform a marriage in Ontario:

  • • a person duly recognized by their religious body as entitled to perform religious marriages in Ontario, or
  • • a person who belongs to, and is duly recognized as entitled to perform marriages by a band, First Nation, Métis or Inuit organization or community or Indigenous entity located in whole or in part in Ontario.

Civil marriage officiants

The following can perform civil marriages in Ontario:

  • • a municipal clerk and/or their delegate authorized to perform civil marriages in Ontario
  • • a judge
  • • an Ontario case management master
  • • an Ontario justice of the peace

Forms you need before you marry

Before you get married, you need either:

  • • a marriage licence, or
  • • a banns form that you get from a church when you publicly announce your commitment during a divine service (a church publishes this declaration, called “the publication of banns”)

Banns cannot be published if you or your spouse have been married before. You will need to get a marriage licence.

You and your spouse, witnesses and the person who performed the marriage will need to sign the licence or banns immediately after the ceremony.

How to get a marriage licence

To get a marriage licence, you will need to:

a) pay a fee (fees vary and depend on the municipality) and; 

b) to bring 2 pieces of government-issued identification for each person getting married. One piece of identification must include your photo.

  • Examples of government-issued identification: 
  • • government-issued birth certificate, including any change of name certificates
  • • valid passport
  • • record of immigrant landing
  • • Canadian Citizenship Card
  • • valid driver’s licence
  • • valid Ontario Photo Card

Please check the municipality’s website to ensure you have all of the information required to purchase a marriage licence.

A marriage licence is valid for three months from the date it was issued.

**COVID-19 Extended Expiry Dates**

Expiry dates have been extended for most marriage licences. This includes marriage licences issued between December 1, 2019 and July 24, 2020. These licences are still valid and can be used until July 24, 2022.

Get a marriage certificate

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

You may need this document to:

• show legal proof you are married

• apply for certain social benefits

• settle an estate

• change a last name

A Record of Solemnization of Marriage is not the same thing as a marriage certificate.

Before you can get a marriage certificate, a marriage needs to be registered. The officiant who performed the marriage will send the completed and signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario so the marriage can be registered. 

Getting married during coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

To have a legal marriage ceremony, you only need the following people:

• the marriage officiant

• the couple

• 2 witnesses

This means that you can get married in-person and follow the order that limits the number of people attending gatherings.

ServiceOntario continues to register marriages and issue marriage certificates. However, there may be some delays as we strive to ensure the safety of our employees and physical distancing.

Check with your municipality to see if there are further bylaws in place for physical distancing.

Change a name after marriage

When you get married, you don’t have to legally change your last name (surname). But if you choose to legally change your last name, you can do so through ServiceOntario.

Remarry after a divorce

Divorced in Canada

You will need to bring official proof of the divorce with you when you apply for a marriage licence. This can be the original or a court-certified copy of one of three documents:

• the final decree

• the final judgment

• a certificate of divorce

Out-of-country divorces

If you were divorced outside of Canada, you will need to provide certain documents to prove that you are no longer married. The government needs to validate these documents. This process can take up to 4 weeks.

You will need to send the following documents to ServiceOntario:

• marriage licence application form: completed and signed

• statement of sole responsibility: for each divorce (signed by both people who are planning to get married and a witness)

• legal opinion letter: from an Ontario lawyer, addressed to both people who plan to get married, giving reasons why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in Ontario

• divorce decree or annulment: an original or court-certified copy in English or French. If the decree is in another language, you will need to include a translated copy and an affidavit sworn by a certified translator