Please note, these are requirements as of April 2021.
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
Contact a local city hall, town hall or municipal office to find out if they provide civil marriage services.
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 has 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:
- 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
- pay a fee (fees vary and depend on the municipality)
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.
Extending the expiry date in response to COVID-19
We have extended the expiry date for most marriage licences. Licences are still valid for the timeframes below, unless you require a replacement licence.
If you need a replacement licence, you have until the extended expiry date to apply for a replacement from a municipality that issues marriage licences.
|Date issued||Valid until|
|December 1, 2019 to July 24, 2020||July 24, 2022|
|July 25, 2020 to September 30, 2020||3 months from date issued (not extended)|
|October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020||February 10, 2023|
|January 1, 2021 to the end of the third province-wide emergency, which was declared on April 7, 2021||24 months from the end of the third province-wide emergency|
Get a replacement licence
You must apply for a replacement licence only if you still wish to get married and:
- you or your future spouse have changed a name or marital status since your unused licence was issued, or
- you no longer have your unused licence
The replacement licence is valid for three months from the date it was issued. Couples should only apply for a replacement within three months of their rescheduled wedding.
When you visit a municipal office to get a replacement licence:
- municipal fees may apply
- there is no provincial fee
- bring your unused licence (if you still have it)
- bring your identification documents
- go to the municipality where you originally purchased your licence
If you are unable to go back to the same municipality where you originally purchased your licence, additional time and information may be required to issue a replacement.
Contact your municipality before applying for a replacement for more information.
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 official who performed the marriage will do this by sending a complete and signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario to register the marriage.
Note: the officiant who performed the marriage will send a 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 for the purpose of a wedding. Rules on physical distancing and face coverings still apply.
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.
Find out information about physical distancing and 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
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
Note: Completed Foreign Divorce Authorizations are sent to applicants by courier. It is important that your full mailing address including suite/unit/apartment and buzzer number is included on the marriage licence application form, or the courier package cannot be delivered and returned to ServiceOntario.
Thank you for reading!