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The Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women

Support to Raise the Marriage Age in Canada to 18 years





Sub-Category: GENERAL

Resolution Number:



North Toronto








According to Government of Canada’s foreign policy website, each year, an estimated 12million girls aged under 18 marry against their will. This means there are currently more than
650 million women and girls worldwide who married as children. Canada works to end child,
early and forced marriage so that girls around the world can reach their full potential. They are
empowered and can work toward a better future for themselves when they: learn about and
exercise their human rights, are able to take care of their health, are protected from violence
and go to school.
Global Affairs Canada work in developing countries to educate people about the devastating
effects of child, early and forced marriages. They work with girls, their families, communities
and governments to eliminate this harmful practice (Government of Canada, 2020). And yet
Canada amended the Federal Civil Marriage Act in 2015 to allow marriage of youth at 16
years of age with parental consent or a court order.
According to research by Koski and Clark (2021), 3,382 marriage licenses involving minors
between the ages of 16 and 18 were issued in Canada between 2000 and 2018. This means
close to 200 girls were formally married between those ages. This is based on data from
provincial vital statistics offices, which issue marriage certificates. Informal or common-law
marriages are not included in this number. More than 85 percent of the children married
were girls in every province/territory in which a sex breakdown was possible.


THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional
Women (BPW Canada) urges the Government of Canada, specifically the Minister of Justice
and the Attorney General of Canada and the Minister for Women and Gender Equality and
Youth, to raise the age of marriage in Canada to 18 to be in line with the age of majority in
most provinces and the United Nations definitions; and to amend the Civil Marriage Act S.C.
2005 33 clause to “no person who is under the age of 18 may contract marriage”.

©BPW Canada

Article ID: 13348