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Family and marital status

The Code includes two grounds that provide protections for persons in relationships: marital status and family status. “Marital status” is defined in section 10 of the Code as “the status of being married, single, widowed, divorced or separated and includes the status of living with a person in a conjugal relationship outside marriage”, including both same-sex and opposite sex relationships.

Family status” is defined as “the status of being in a parent and child relationship.”  This can also mean a parent and child “type” of relationship, embracing a range of circumstances without blood or adoptive ties but with similar relationships of care, responsibility and commitment.

The grounds of marital and family status intersect to cover a range of family forms, including lone parent and blended families, as well as families where the parents are in a ‘common law’ relationship. 

Relevant policy:

  1. Family status and the Ontario Human Rights Code (fact sheet)

    2007 - The Ontario Human Rights Commission has interpreted the ground of family status as protecting a range of families and familial relationships from discrimination. It protects parents from being discriminated against because they have children; it also protects adult children who experience discrimination because they are caring for their aging parents. It protects non-biological parent and child relationships, such as those formed through adoption, fostering, and step-parenting, as well as lone parent families, and those headed by LGBT persons.

  2. Discussion paper: Human rights issues in insurance

    October 1999 - The objective of the Paper is twofold: to promote dialogue on protecting human rights in the insurance industry and to examine alternatives to current practices by obtaining input from experts, regulators and consumers. Access to insurance in our society raises significant issues about distributive justice and fairness in the public sphere, issues that have received scant attention in Canada and in Ontario where rate setting has traditionally been viewed as a private matter.