What is a Humanist Officiant?

A Humanist Officiant has undergone training and credentialing by Humanist Canada – and is authorized by the Province of Ontario – to perform secular wedding and other ceremonies. Officiants with Humanist Canada undergo background checks, character references, interviews, and training. We are qualified on the basis of our education, life experience, writing and presentation skills, and a commitment to Humanist principles.

In Ontario, Humanist Officiants are licensed by the Province to solemnize marriages under the Marriage Act. All officiants are required to maintain membership Humanist Canada.

Humanist ceremonies are perfectly legal and fully professional. They are becoming increasingly popular because they provide the opportunity to express your love and commitment with personalization and creativity in content, language, form and procedure.

How can I be sure that my Officiant is properly trained and qualified?

You can search the Officiants list on the Province of Ontario’s website or on the Humanist Canada site.

Where can I find info on Marriage legal matters?

Go to the Ontario Provincial government website on weddings

Do I need a Marriage License?

Yes, you can’t get married without one. You typically obtain this from your local City Hall or Municipal Office. You can download the application form from the Government of Ontario. The Licence is for three months from issuance, so don’t get it too far ahead of your wedding date!

How long is the ceremony?

Most ceremonies run approximately between 20 to 30 minutes. Some can be longer and some can be shorter, but the average seems to be about 25 minutes.

When I get married, does my name automatically change?

Couples sometimes assume that getting married changes a bride’s name. Getting married does not legally change a name. Although either partner may legally assume their spouse’s name, this does not constitute a legal change of name.

You may want to legally change your name as a result of marriage or a common-law relationship. You can change your name to the surname your partner has at your union or to a surname combining both your surnames in either order. If you change your name within 90 days after your marriage, there is no fee. For information on changing your name, go to the Ontario Government website.

Do we automatically receive notification that our marriage has been registered?

No, there is no automatic notification of your marriage registration.

To have proof that the Province of Ontario has registered your marriage, you can purchase a Marriage Certificate. You can order a marriage certificate about 6-8 weeks after your wedding date. A Marriage Certificate is a legal record of your marriage and lists the date and place of the marriage, and names of the people who were married.

At your marriage ceremony, you will be given the Record of Solemnization of Marriage from the Officiant. It is considered a souvenir document and not a legal record. The official who performed your marriage is required to forward the Marriage Licence you signed on your wedding day to the Office of the Registrar General for registration.

You can order your Marriage Certificate online or complete the Request for Marriage Certificate and then send it to the Office of the Registrar General in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

What is Humanism?

Humanism is an approach to life that is concerned with advancing the beauty, complexity, value and potential of people. Humanism implies “humanity” and making the connections between individual humanities (people), giving warmth and colour to life, and creating a constant connection to community. Humanists know that this life is our only life and are motivated by compassion and fairness in a search for an ethical way of life without submission to supernatural supervision.

A distinguishing feature of humanism is that there is no orthodoxy, no dogma, no scriptures set in stone – which immediately sets it apart from religion. It has been described more as an attitude than a doctrine and relies on an inclusive and hospitable way of thinking. Whereas religious ideologies tend to insist on a series of ‘one size fits all’ credos, humanism embraces all human possibilities. Humanism is based on the natural human condition and considers how humans can make their lives significant and live their best lives for themselves and their community.