Ontario to Introduce Legislation Ensuring Equal Treatment for All Families
Legislation Would Address Legal Uncertainty for Parents and Children
Today, Ontario intends to introduce legislation that would ensure all families are treated equally, and end the legal uncertainty faced by Ontario parents who conceive their children using assisted reproduction.
The All Families Are Equal Act, 2016, if passed, would ensure the legal status of parents is recognized clearly and equitably, whether they are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and whether their children were conceived with or without assistance. Under the current parentage law, which has not been updated since 1978, parents who are not biologically related to their children often need to go to court to be legally recognized as their parents.
The All Families Are Equal Act, if passed, would:
- Ensure that all couples who use assisted reproduction to conceive are recognized as their child's parents.
- Allow parents who use a surrogate to be legally recognized as their child's parents without a court process, as long as the surrogate agrees before conception and after birth.
- More clearly recognize the legal status of all parents, regardless of how their child was conceived.
Every child deserves the opportunity to thrive and have the best possible start in life. Clarifying how parents and children are treated, regardless of how the child was conceived, is another way Ontario is supporting families across the province.
- Assisted reproduction refers to a method of conception other than sexual intercourse. Assisted reproduction may involve a surrogate mother or a donor who provides their sperm or eggs to conceive a child.
- In October 2015, Ontario announced it was investing $50 million a year to expand access to in vitro fertilization treatments (IVF), in addition to the $20 million per year currently spent on IVF and other assisted reproduction services under OHIP.
“All parents and their kids need to be treated equally under the law. The best thing for a child is to have parents who can make important decisions about their care from the minute they are born, without any legal uncertainty. There is no one way to have a family. The changes we are proposing reflect this reality.”