In fact, the number of common-law relationships is on a steady rise in Canada, with as many as 3.9 million people aged 15 and up living with a partner in 2021. Quebec is the common-law hotspot with 1.7 million unmarried couples who live together.
Even without a marriage certificate, there are still certain protections in place for common-law relationships when dealing with joint ownership of possessions and insurance beneficiaries, similar to what a married couple would have under law.
However, legislation for common-law relations differs per province, so what comes next after a breakup isn’t always as clear cut – even with lawyers involved. For instance, the Canadian Press reported that common-law couples aren’t legally required to share the value of the acquired property during the relationship in Ontario, but in British Columbia, it is default for the property to be shared equally, with the non-titled partner claiming growth in the property.
Meanwhile, the non-titled partner in Ontario would have to establish a trust claim to show that the non-titled partner’s contributions have enriched the other while depriving the non-titled partner, the Canadian Press reported.
Ultimately, Bunting claimed that a stay-at-home partner has more to benefit from the rights and protections of a marriage compared to a common-law.