Same-Sex Common Law Citizenship in Canada

Canada strives to recognize and provide equal opportunities for all people living in the country, and protecting the rights of members of the LGBTQ2I community is a big part of making sure of this.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees equality under the law, protecting individuals from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Same-sex marriage became legal in 2005, followed by common-law partnerships in 2003, and a ban on conversion therapy in 2022.

How Does Canada Support The LGBTQIA+ Community?

How Does Canada Support The LGBTQIA+ Community?

Comprehensive Protections

Anti-discrimination laws exist in federal and provincial levels, covering areas like employment, housing, and education. Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity are also punishable by law.

Inclusive Infrastructure

Canada offers gender-neutral passports and identity documents, recognizes non-binary individuals, and implements inclusive healthcare practices. They actively recruit diversity within government and public institutions.

International Advocacy

Canada champions LGBTQIA+ rights globally, providing financial aid and technical assistance to developing countries with discriminatory laws or practices.

Community Support

Numerous LGBTQIA+ organizations like Egale Canada, PFLAG Canada, and Rainbow Railroad advocate for rights, offer support services, and organize Pride events across the country.

However, challenges remain. Discrimination still exists, particularly for marginalized communities within the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Ongoing efforts focus on addressing these disparities and ensuring full social and economic inclusion for all.

Did you know that although internationally known as the LGBTQIA+, in Canada, this community is referred to as the LGBTQ2I? The “2” in this acronym stands for “two-spirit”. Who are two-spirited people, you may be wondering? Two spirit refers to Native American people who identify neither as male or female, but rather as two-spirited.

What is Sexual Citizenship in Canada?

In Canada, "sexual citizenship" isn't a specific legal term or policy area, but rather a conceptual framework used to analyze how laws, social norms, and power dynamics impact individuals' and groups' ability to express and experience their sexuality freely and safely.

Here are some key aspects of sexual citizenship in Canada:

Rights and Freedoms

Topic Constitutional Protections
Equality Rights and Freedom

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees equality rights and freedom from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. This includes rights related to privacy, decision-making about your body, and freedom from sexual violence.

Marriage and Common-law Relationships

Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005 and recognizes common-law partnerships for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples. This provides legal protections and benefits like spousal sponsorship for immigration.

Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights

Access to information, education, and services like contraception, abortion, and HIV/AIDS treatment are available, though disparities persist for marginalized communities.

Challenges and Inequalities

Topic Information

Despite legal protections, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity still exists in areas like employment, housing, and healthcare.

Marginalized Communities

LGBTQI+ people, particularly transgender and non-binary individuals, Black and Indigenous LGBTQI+ individuals, and those living in rural areas, may face additional barriers and inequalities.

Access to Justice

Navigating legal and bureaucratic processes related to immigration, hate crimes, or discrimination can be difficult and costly.

Advocacy and Activism:

  • LGBTQI+ organizations and allies actively work to challenge discrimination, promote inclusion, and expand sexual citizenship rights for all.
  • Ongoing policy debates and discussions address issues like conversion therapy bans, transgender rights, and ensuring equitable access to services and resources.

A History of LGBTQIA+ Representation in Canada

A History of LGBTQIA+ Representation in Canada

A history of LGBTQIA+ representation in Canada is a complex tapestry woven with both progress and struggle. Early figures faced legal discrimination and social stigma, with same-sex acts criminalized until 1969.

Decades of activism saw milestones like decriminalization, marriage equality, and anti-discrimination laws. Yet, challenges persist, particularly for marginalized communities. While Canada ranks high in global equality indexes, representation in media, politics, and across social spheres remains uneven. The fight for full inclusion and visibility continues, fueled by ongoing activism and a growing sense of LGBTQIA+ pride.

Why Get Same-Sex Common Law Citizenship in Canada

LGBTQ individuals may seek Canadian citizenship for various reasons. Canada is known for its progressive stance on LGBTQ rights, providing legal protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

LGBTQ individuals may pursue citizenship to access healthcare benefits, including gender-affirming care. Canada's commitment to diversity and inclusion attracts those seeking a more accepting society, especially in comparison to regions where LGBTQ rights may be restricted.

Additionally, Canadian immigration policies acknowledge same-sex relationships, facilitating the reunification of LGBTQ couples. The country's vibrant LGBTQ community and numerous pride events create a supportive social environment. Ultimately, obtaining Canadian citizenship represents a desire for equal rights, acceptance, and a more inclusive and welcoming society for LGBTQ individuals.

Not only does Canada advocate for the rights of the LGBTQ2I community, but it also celebrates members of the community with numerous pride parades which include the following:

  • Whitehorse, Yukon (June 4-9)
  • Pembroke, Ontario (June 7-15)
  • Kincardine, Ontario (June 22)
  • Labrador West, Newfoundland and Labrador (July 14-20)
  • Saint John, New Brunswick (August 6-11)
  • Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba (September 6-8)

Same-sex Sponsorship: Apply as a Spouse, Common-law or Conjugal Partner

If you want to get same-sex common law citizenship in Canada, you can apply through the Spousal and Common-Law Partner Sponsorship. The Spousal and Common-Law Partner Sponsorship allows eligible applicants to sponsor their spouse, common law partner or dependent children to become permanent residents and eventually get Canada citizenship.

Spouse, Common Law Partner and Conjugal Partner: What’s the Difference?

  • A spouse refers to a significant other in marriage, people who are legally married.
  • A common-law marriage is also known as non-ceremonial marriage. The concept of a "common-law marriage" is one considered valid by both partners, but not formally recorded with a state or religious registry, neither is celebrated in a formal civil (court of law) or religious service.

For example, if you are living with your partner, but you are not married, this is considered a common law marriage.

To be considered common-law partners in Canada, you and your partner must have lived together for at least one year.

  • In Canada, a conjugal relationship refers to two people who are in a marriage-like relation but are not married and cannot live together due to circumstances beyond their control.

Who Can Apply to Become a Sponsor?

You can become a sponsor in Canada if you are:

  • at least 18 years old
  • live in Canada
  • are a Canadian citizen
  • are able to support members you are sponsoring financially

Who Can You Sponsor to Live in Canada?

You can sponsor the following family members to get Canada citizenship on the Spousal and Family Sponsorship program:

  • Spouse
  • Common-law partner
  • Conjugal partner
  • Dependent child

How Do You Prove Common-Law Relationships in Canada?

The following can serve as proof of a common-law relationship in Canada.

  • shared ownership of residential property
  • joint leases or rental agreements
  • bills for shared utility accounts, such as: gas. electricity
  • important documents for both of you showing the same address, such as: driver's licenses

How Do You Prove Conjugal Relationships in Canada?

  • shared shelter (for example, sleeping arrangements)
  • sexual and personal behavior (for example, fidelity, commitment, feelings towards each other)
  • services (e.g. conduct and habit with regards to the sharing of household chores)
  • social activities (e.g. your attitude and conduct as a couple in the community and with their families)
  • economic support (e.g. financial arrangements, ownership of property)
  • children (e.g. attitude and conduct concerning children)
  • societal perception of the two as a couple (eg. statements from friends and family wherein they acknowledge you as a couple)

Now that you know more about same-sex common-law citizenship in Canada, you can start thinking about whether Canada is where you’d like to be. When you decide to apply, we make the visa application process easier by allowing one of our RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) to guide you through the application process and increase your chances of success.

LGBTQIA+ Settlement Communities in Canada

LGBTQIA+ Settlement Communities in Canada

Canada welcomes LGBTQIA+ newcomers from various backgrounds, offering them new opportunities while facing unique challenges. Here are 3 specific communities highlighting their work:

Rainbow Refugee Committee Toronto)

Focused on supporting LGBTQIA+ refugees and asylum seekers through the complex legal and resettlement process. They offer resources, navigation of social services, and a safe space for building community and navigating cultural differences.

Kind Space Ottawa

This non-profit center provides drop-in groups, events, and resources specifically for 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers. They offer social connection, mental health support, and assistance with accessing essential services like housing, employment, and healthcare.


Working across diverse communities, PLURALISM offers multilingual settlement services with cultural sensitivity and LGBTQIA+ inclusion. They provide workshops, translation, and individual support on issues like accessing healthcare, navigating the legal system, and finding employment.

These are just a few examples, and countless other organizations, community groups, and initiatives across Canada support LGBTQIA+ newcomers. Their work ranges from advocacy and legal aid to social events and cultural competency training.

Language barriers, discrimination, and access to culturally appropriate services are common hurdles. Finding LGBTQIA+ friendly housing, healthcare, and employment can be difficult. Additionally, navigating complex immigration processes and integrating into new communities can be overwhelming.

Despite these challenges, LGBTQIA+ settlement communities in Canada are thriving. They provide vital support, foster belonging, and advocate for inclusive policies and services. With continued efforts, newcomers can build new lives, contribute to their communities, and experience the full potential of a welcoming and diverse Canada.


Is Canada Safe for LGBTQ People?

Canada boasts strong legal protections and high rankings in global LGBTQ+ safety indexes. Same-sex marriage and common-law partnerships are legal, discrimination is outlawed, and conversion therapy is banned. However, prejudice and discrimination still exist, particularly for marginalized communities within the LGBTQ+ spectrum.

Does the Government Allow LGBTQ People to Immigrate to Canada?

LGBTQ+ individuals can immigrate to Canada through various pathways, including skilled worker programs, family sponsorship, and refugee claims. They enjoy equal rights and protections under the law regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Does the Canadian Government Allow LGBTQ Refugees?

Canada has a well-established history of welcoming LGBTQ+ refugees fleeing persecution. Rainbow Railroad, an organization specifically dedicated to assisting LGBTQ+ individuals, can offer support and resources. Some provinces even prioritize LGBTQ+ asylum claims due to heightened vulnerability.