Canadian Government Denounces “Marriage Fraud”

In a new publication entitled “Welcome to Canada: What You Should Know”, the government deals with the issue of “marriage fraud”.

Here’s the note on Marriage:


Marriage is a fundamental institution in Canada, the foundation of family life for many Canadians, and one of the basic constituents of a strong and prosperous society. In Canada, there are laws against being married to more than one person at a time. You cannot come to Canada with more than one spouse even if you were married to more than one person in the past.

The laws also prohibit you from marrying someone in Canada if one of you is already married. It does not matter where or when that marriage took place. In Canada, you can only remarry if you are legally divorced or if your spouse has died.

According to longstanding moral principles, which are codified in Canadian law, it is illegal to force anyone into marriage in Canada. A father or brother cannot force his daughter or sister to marry against her will. Women who are pressured into marriage should contact public authorities such as the police, who will protect them.

It is a crime to marry Canadian citizens or permanent residents only to gain entry into Canada. Some sponsors and foreign applicants arrange a “marriage of convenience”: a marriage or common-law relationship where the sole purpose is for the sponsored spouse to immigrate to Canada. Canadian citizens or permanent residents found to be part of a marriage of convenience for immigration purposes may be charged with a crime.


The first caution, of course, is that this is a crime, basically to be part of it.

Some Canadians are just victims! They marry and sponsor the new spouse’s entry into Canada. This means that they are “on the hook” for costs over a three year period.

The new “spouse” once inside the country leaves the Canadian resident and lives with others. The whole “marriage” was just a scheme to gain entry.

There’s one more issue that should be raised: the matrimonial home.

In Ontario, under the Family Law Act, such a spouse might qualify for entitlement to one-half the equity in the Canadian resident’s house, assuming that it meets the definition of a matrimonial home.

If marriage fraud can be proven, then, it would not qualify. Otherwise, one half of the equity is at risk, even after just a few days of “marriage”.

Here’s the link to the publication:

 So, be careful.

Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker

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