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Details of Proposed All Families Are Equal Act, 2016

Archived Backgrounder

Details of Proposed All Families Are Equal Act, 2016

Ministry of the Attorney General

The proposed All Families Are Equal Act, 2016 would amend the Children's Law Reform Act, the Vital Statistics Act and other statutes to update Ontario's parentage and birth registration rules. The laws would also be amended to use gender neutral terminology, where possible.

Proposed Amendments to the Children's Law Reform Act

Rules of Legal Parentage

In cases where a child is conceived through assisted reproduction, the law would provide that the parents are the birth parent and the birth parent's partner, if any, at the time of the child's conception. No court order would be required.


The intended parents of a child born to surrogate would be recognized without a court order if the following conditions are met:

  • The surrogate and the intended parent(s) received independent legal advice and entered into a written pre-conception surrogacy agreement.
  • The surrogate provided written consent to give up her parental status both before conception and seven days after the birth of the child.

Clarifying the Process for Recognition of Parentage Agreements

Currently, the court can recognize more than two people as the parents of a child. That process will still exist.

Under a simplified process, up to four people would be recognized as the parents of a child, without a court order, if all parties entered into a written pre-conception agreement to be parents of the child together. The birth parent would be required to be one of the parties to the agreement.

Posthumous Conception

A court could grant a declaration of parental status to a deceased person in relation to a child conceived after their death.

The posthumously conceived child could inherit and seek support from their deceased parent's estate, if the child is born within three years of their deceased parent's death.

Proposed Amendments to the Vital Statistics Act

Births would be registered based on the new parentage rules in the Children's Law Reform Act.   

The amendments would also provide rules for determining a child's surname, in the event that there is a conflict between the parents.

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