On January 2, 2017, a new parentage law will come into effect in Ontario. Known as Bill 28: All Families Are Equal Act, it is an amendment to the province’s Children’s Law Reform Act. There are many new exciting changes as a result, including the following:
- A (sperm or ova) donor is not a parent by virtue of donating using assisted reproduction.
- A (sperm or ova) donor is not a parent by virtue of sexual intercourse, provided there is a pre-conception written agreement.
- In a surrogacy situation, a birth can be registered in the names of up to four people without the need to get a post-birth parental Order. This includes same-sex intended parents. This applies ONLY if there is a pre-conception written agreement, with opposing sides having independent legal advice, and the surrogate must sign a consent no earlier than seven days post birth. However, even under these circumstances, a post-birth parental Order can be obtained if required (i.e., if you are a non-Canadian resident, and your home country requires a court order).
- A surrogacy agreement is unenforceable in law, but may be used as evidence of: a) an intended parent’s intention to be a parent of a child contemplated in the agreement; and b) a surrogate’s intention to not be a parent of that child.
- A declaration of parentage must be obtained if there is no pre-conception written agreement with independent legal advice on both sides. Some people may opt to forego the independent legal advice (i.e., use their own agreement, without lawyers, or without lawyers on both sides) in order to save up-front costs (i.e., in case the surrogate does not get pregnant).
- A lesbian non-birth parent no longer needs to adopt her partner’s child or pursue a parental Order, and will be legally recognized as the other parent.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss any of these changes, give Shirley a call at: (416) 238-2398, ext. 1.