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TroubledTigress 11-17-2012 12:39 AM

Seeking Advice...
So, I'm going to try and not make this very long, as I seem to have a habit of doing with most of my posts as of late. Forgive me tho if it does become somewhat wordy.

The questions I'm seeking advice on is this;
Are common-law polyamory relationships legal now in Canada?
And if so, is it possible to sponsor someone as a conjugal partner into Canada?

A bit of background on this;
As I mentioned in my introduction, I'm married and have been for 7 1/2 years, and just recently became polyamorous, having just started a relationship with my girlfriend. Now, I'm aware it will sound like I'm seeking this information a bit too soon, however, this is more of just a fact finding thing.

The reason I even have been looking into this, is my girlfriend, doesn't exactly live in a good environment and I worry for her. Polyamory is still not a widely accepted lifestyle of course, but that's not the cause of her grief. It's the fact that she is essentially bisexual. I'll summarize it up to the fact, that I honestly fear for her, due to this situation and leaving the situation is very difficult. Moving to a different country might very well be the only truly safe option she has, as she cannot deny who she is. And she shouldn't have to.

I am of course looking at many options, and it's all rather difficult to find something that would work well. She's 19, and not exactly well off. Nor am I. And in the midst of all this I found the information regarding the BC case that had to do with polygamy and polyamory. Unfortunately it is all a little confusing, at least the conclusion of what is legal and what is not. At least in so far as being clear on what is legal for polyamorists. And days of googling haven't wielded any clear answers either.

So if anyone would have some advice for me I would greatly appreciate it. Even better would be if my questions could be answered.


SchrodingersCat 11-17-2012 02:47 AM


Originally Posted by TroubledTigress (Post 167371)
The questions I'm seeking advice on is this;
Are common-law polyamory relationships legal now in Canada?
And if so, is it possible to sponsor someone as a conjugal partner into Canada?

Are you asking if it's possible to be in common-law relationships with more than one person at a time? The answer is no. That would fall under the same guidelines as multiple marriages at the same time, which is illegal in Canada.

Regarding spousal immigration laws in Canada in general... http://lmgtfy.com/?q=spousal+immigration+canada&l=1

TroubledTigress 11-17-2012 07:04 AM

Ah ok, thank you for answering the questions, and I was confused on the common-law thing because of the fact that the laws were recently changed last year. And well, things were changed to only prohibit people to have legal marriages with ceremonies, but as I don't have a legal mind I wasn't sure if I was missing something. I think I'm mostly confused because of information such as this;


The judge interpreted Canada’s criminal law against polygamy narrowly so that it only criminalizes non-monogamous relationships that are a) institutionalized b) marriages. The law, he said, protects the “institution of monogamous marriage”. He concluded that the law does not apply to non-monogamous relationships in general.

Of the two terms “institutionalized” and “marriage” the former is the most important, not only because it narrows the second term, but also because the concept of “institutionalized” is clearer than the concept of “marriage”.

The judge discussed three types of institutionalized marriage, and they give a guide to what he means by “institutionalized”.

The first type is the institution of two-person heterosexual marriage. As the judge discussed, that institution has thousands of years of cultural practice behind it and in Canada 150 years of formal legal definition and sanction. It is clearly an institution.

As to the key elements of that institution the evidence suggests these things:

1) marriage has a community dimension because the marriage affects the wider community and not just the parties to the marriage;

2) the community must in some way formally sanction the marriage through an authority structure;

3) some form of marriage registration must occur so the community can determine a marriage has taken place;

4) the public nature of the ceremony is in part designed to tell others that the parties to the marriage are off-limits for sexual purposes;

5) because the marriage affects the wider community the terms of the marriage cannot be renegotiated by the parties themselves;

6) the parties to a marriage cannot dissolve it themselves; dissolution requires another public ceremony or involvement of third parties (from paragraphs 227, 1020, 1037-1042 of the court’s decision).

The formal sanctioning by the Canadian legal system in the last twenty years of a new form of monogamous marriage – homosexual – which the judge also recognized, shows that marriage can be institutionalized by new practices.

SchrodingersCat 11-17-2012 07:44 AM

First things first, the law was not "changed" last year. Plural marriages have always been illegal in Canada. The trial was an attempt to change the law, and it failed. The judge merely clarified the existing law with regards to criminal charges. Rights of spouses and common-law partners are set under a different set of legislation. So it's not criminally illegal to have multiple common-law partners, but that doesn't mean the CRA will give you two tax deductions or that both your partners will get to split your account if you die.

Hmm... according to Wikipedia, I live in the one province that actually has an exception to that rule. Are you from Saskatchewan by any chance? I have to say, that part is news to me. Further research into that shows that this is really only valid for the purpose of property division (The Family Property Act), and that such unions cannot be solemnized under Saskatchewan's The Marriage Act 1995.

But here's your answer in plain text:

You cannot be sponsored as a spouse, a common-law partner or a conjugal partner if:
you have lived apart from your sponsor for at least one year and either you (or your sponsor) are the common-law or conjugal partner of another person

TroubledTigress 11-17-2012 09:07 AM

Ah I didn't mean changed in regards to marriage, I meant changed in the way that common-law was not seen as illegal, or whatever it was before (I know it was different before the change). Wish I could remember exactly what I read and where now, but been digesting a lot of information lately.

Anyways, no I don't like in Saskatchewan, I'm actually in BC.

Thanks again, I figured it was just a hopeful thought, but worth pursuing. If only the stupid immigration sites were much more clear and in plain language. (regarding the other options also)

I'll figure something out, hopefully.

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