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After same-sex marriage became available on 20 July 2005, the 2006 census was the first to collect data on legally married same-sex couples. It showed there were more than 45,000 declared same-sex couples in the country, and that 16.5 per cent of those were married.

By the time of the 2016 census, there were 72,880 declared same-sex couples — 0.9 per cent of the total number of couples — and 33.4 per cent of those same-sex couples were married. That represents a tripling in the number of married, same-sex unions across the country between 2006 and 2016.

Legalization of Marriage

Canada was the fourth country to permit same-sex marriages, after the Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003) and Spain (2005).

While marriage itself falls under federal jurisdiction in Canada, the provinces regulate the solemnization of marriage (the formal ceremony that is either civil or religious) and grant marriage licenses.

In 2003, Ontario and British Columbia became the first two provinces to legalize the licensing of same-sex marriage. Since then, all the provinces have recognized same-sex marriages. In 2005, the federal Civil Marriage Act came into force, making same-sex marriage legal across Canada. This change required that definitions for husband and wife be amended to spouse. The Income Tax Act also replaced the term natural parent with legal parent to ensure that upon divorce, support payments would include the children of both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

Although some religious denominations endorse same-sex marriage, others do not. The Supreme Court has ruled that under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, a religious official cannot be legally compelled to perform same-sex marriages if it is contrary to their religious beliefs. At the same time, government does have a duty to provide access to civil marriage (as opposed to a religious marriage ceremony) for those same-sex couples who want to marry.


City of Windsor

350 City Hall Square West
Windsor, ONT, N9A 6S1
Phone: 311

The City of Windsor now offers civil marriage ceremonies in Council Chambers at City Hall, 350 City Hall Square West. 

Previously, only Judges and Justices-of-the-Peace were allowed to solemnize civil marriages. Ceremonies, available in English only, are simple and dignified. The solemn service lasts approximately 20 minutes.

Creative Marriage Celebrations

Phone: 519-919-1959

Joe McParland established Creative Marriage Celebrations in 2006  to offer couples seeking a creative wedding ceremony in the south-western Ontario Region an experienced, registered marriage officiant. After graduating from Assumption High School in Windsor he received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Divinity degrees from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. Joe has retired as a manager with the Federal Public Service after a 26 year career.

Joe is very involved in his community and has served on the boards of many charitable and not-for-profit organizations.  He also hosts a weekly municipal affairs program for TVCOGECO, the local cable community television station, where he covers issues dealt with by city and county councils. His great passions in life are his personal faith and value system, his family, friends, sports, the arts, and a strong supporter of Greyhound rescue.


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Windsor Essex Pride Fest

Phone: (226) 348-3378
General Inquiries: [email protected]

2109 Ottawa Street, Unit 216
Windsor, Ontario, N8Y 1R8

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Whether you have a question about our organization, one of our events, wanting to sponsor or donate, or just want to get involved, please get in touch by email or by using the contact form. One of our Windsor-Essex Pride Fest team members will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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