Language selector

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. Commission appeals advance human rights law (fact sheet)

    June 2006 - Over the past ten years, the Commission has been involved in 72 judicial review decisions, 32 decisions on appeal at the Divisional Court, 40 decisions from the Court of Appeal, and 17 from the Supreme Court of Canada. As of March 31, 2006, the Commission was litigating 462 cases at the Tribunal, eight cases before the Divisional Court, three in the Ontario Court of Appeal, and two before the Supreme Court of Canada.

  3. OHRC Insurance consultation cover letter

    October 14, 1999 - Insurance practices routinely make distinctions based on, among other things, gender, age, marital status and disability. While many of these distinctions are based on valid business practices, others raise questions and concerns. These concerns relate to the existence of non-discriminatory alternatives to current practices and about respect for human rights.

  4. Re: MCSCS Corrections Reform - Findings from Tour of Kenora Jail

    February 28, 2017 - Dear Minister Lalonde, I am writing today to provide you with a summary of what we learned. There are some issues that appear unique to the Kenora Jail that raise human rights concerns and warrant further consideration and action on the part of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS).  I look forward to discussing these issues further at our upcoming meeting scheduled for early March.