Before the civil marriage or union ceremony

After the registrar of civil status This hyperlink will open in a new window. has confirmed that you are authorized to act as a designated officiant, you must meet with the intended spouses. During the interview, you must:

Notice of publication of the marriage or civil union (action taken by officiant)

As the officiant, in most cases you must draw up a notice of publication This hyperlink will open in a new window. of the marriage or civil union, entering the following information:

  • the name and the domiciliary address of the intended spouses;
  • the year and place of their birth;
  • the scheduled solemnization date;
  • the name of the officiant.

The correctness of the information in the document must be confirmed by a witness of full age.

You must also sign this document as the officiant and include a photocopy of the notice in the marriage or civil union file.

However, in some cases, the registrar of civil status may grant a dispensation from publication, meaning that the notice of publication will not be produced.

Posting of the notice of publication of the marriage or civil union

You must post the notice of publication of the marriage or civil union on the website of the registrar of civil status This hyperlink will open in a new window..

You must make sure that the notice of publication is posted for 20 days before the date of the marriage or civil union. 

Change of date and amendment of the notice of publication of the marriage or civil union

If there is a change in the date or time of the ceremony, you may, as the officiant, amend the existing notice of publication.

The 20-day publication period applies to an amended notice, and the marriage or civil union must be solemnized within three months from the expiry of the 20-day period. When there has been a change in the time or date, the notice of publication should be kept posted until the date of the solemnization. 

Verification of the intended spouses’ eligibility

The intended spouses must prove that they meet the conditions for marrying or forming a civil union.

Verification of identity

As proof of identity, the intended spouses must submit:

  • the original of their birth certificate, or
  • a copy of their act of birth.

If they do not have either document, they can contact the court clerk, who will explain the best way to proceed..

For a marriage, if one of the intended spouses is aged 16 or 17, he or she must show the court authorization obtained for the marriage.

Proof of civil status

Both intended spouses must show that they are free from all previous bonds of marriage or civil union, by providing one of the documents listed below to prove their civil status.

Civil status Document proving civil status
Single (civil union or marriage annulled)Certified copy of the judgment annulling the marriage or civil union
Single (civil union dissolved)One of the following documents:
  • authentic copy of the joint declaration of dissolution made before a notary
  • certified copy of the judgment dissolving the civil union
DivorcedOne of the following documents:
  • certified copy of the divorce certificate
  • certified copy of the decree absolute of divorce
WidowedOne of the following documents:
  • copy of the deceased’s act of death
  • deceased’s death certificate

Judgments or civil status documents from outside Québec

You may accept proof in the form of a document issued outside Québec.

However, if the document is in a language other than French or English, the intended spouses must also provide:

  • an official translation produced by a member of the Ordre des traducteurs, terminologues et interprètes agréés du Québec;
  • sworn statement by the translator that the translation is accurate.

If you have doubts about the validity or date of effect of a judgment, you can ask the intended spouses to file a court application for the recognition of a foreign judgment. 

Dispensation from publication of a marriage or civil union

In some cases, at the request of the intended spouses and the officiant, the registrar of civil status This hyperlink will open in a new window. may grant a dispensation from publication for the marriage or civil union. The dispensation will only be granted for a serious reason, for example if one of the intended spouses

  • is gravely ill; 
  • is to be transferred shortly to another country.

Dispensation granted by the officiant

If the life of one of the intended spouses is endangered and the marriage must be solemnized promptly without it being possible to obtain a dispensation from the registrar, the officiant may grant the dispensation.

In such a case, when sending the declaration of marriage to the registrar of civil status, the officiant shall include the dispensation, which must specify the grounds for granting it.

Intended spouses already in a civil union

If the intended spouses are already in a civil union and wish to marry, you do not need to post a notice of publication, and are not required to state the reasons for the dispensation.

Last update: April 6, 2023


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