New Rules Protect Common-Law and Same-Sex Couples

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

June 1, 2001 4:00 PM

The Nova Scotia government is changing the rules for common-law
and same-sex couples to reflect recent federal and provincial
court decisions.

As of June 4, under amendments to the Vital Statistics Act,
common-law and same-sex couples can register a domestic
partnership with Vital Statistics, part of Service Nova Scotia
and Municipal Relations.

Once a domestic partnership is registered, the couple will have
many of the same benefits and obligations as a married couple,
such as pension benefits and the division of assets at separation
or death.

The government is amending its regulations after the Nova Scotia
Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada clarified common-
law and same-sex couples’ rights. While these couples will have
essentially the same rights as married couples, registration is
not marriage.

To register a domestic partnership, the couple must meet all of
the following criteria:
-- each person is over the age of majority
-- neither person is married
-- neither person is in a domestic partnership
-- each person is ordinarily resident or a property owner in Nova
Scotia on the date of registration

Vital Statistics will also register the termination domestic
relationships. The partnership will be terminated at the earliest
of the following events:
-- both partners file a Statement of Termination with Vital
Statistics
-- both partners enter into a separation agreement pursuant to
the Maintenance and Custody Act
-- both partners live apart for at least one year and one partner
files an affidavit with Vital Statistics to register the
termination
-- one partner marries a third party

Certificates can be issued to prove that a domestic partnership
is registered or that one has been terminated. Applications to
register or terminate a domestic partnership are available
through Vital Statistics and Service Nova Scotia and Municipal
Relations’ Vital Statistics Web site, at
www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/vstat/ . Or call toll-free 1-877-848-2578.



FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The Nova Scotia government is changing the rules for common-

law and same sex-couples today, following recent court decisions.

     Under changes to the Vital Statistics Act, common-law and

same-sex couples can register a domestic partnership with Service

Nova Scotia.

     Couples would be able to obtain certificates from the Vital

Statistics office.

     Registration would help couples enjoy the same rights and

responsibilities as married couples, such as company health plan

benefits and the division of assets following a death or

separation.

     Despite the new rules, the province emphasized that domestic

partnerships are not marriages.

- 30 -

Contact: Kevin Finch
         Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
         902-424-2733
         E-mail: finchkh@gov.ns.ca



ddo         June 1, 2001        4:02 P.M.