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Vital Statistics

Marriage: Registration of Clergy

Who Needs This Registration?
  Any clergyperson who wants to perform marriages which are recognized as legal in Nova Scotia.
Issuing Department / Agency:
  Vital Statistics Office
Service Nova Scotia
Where can you get this Certificate and / or further information?
  Phone Outside of Nova Scotia:  902-424-4381
Toll-Free in Nova Scotia:  1-877-848-2578
Hours: 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (except Holidays).
  Visit Vital Statistics Office
300 Horseshoe Lake Drive
Halifax, NS B3S 0B7
  Write: P.O. Box 157
Halifax, NS  B3J 2M9
  Fax 902-450-7311
Application Form and Process:
  An application form can be obtained from the Vital Statistics Office of Service Nova Scotia. Applicants must:
  1. be residents of Nova Scotia;
  2. be in good standing in some "established religious body" (for a definition, see Additional Information (2), below);
  3. be authorized by that religious body to solemnize marriages according to its rites and usages (for example, by ordination); and
  4. have their application form signed by the governing authority having jurisdiction for that religion in this Province.
If the religion has no governing authority, the application must be accompanied by the names and addresses of 25 adult members of the religion who support the application.

When completed, the application should be returned to the Office, where it will be reviewed by the Deputy Registrar General.

If all requirements are met and the application is approved, the registration (with the assigned number for that clergyperson) will be sent to the applicant by mail.

Waiting Period:
  10 business days
Provided that all the items that must accompany the application have been received (Please allow several extra days for mail delivery.)
Expiry and Renewal
  This registration does not expire (although it can be revoked for just cause.) Temporary registrations are valid for the dates specified on the registration certificate.
Related Requirements:
Additional Information:
  1. Temporary licences for clergy who are members of denominations already registered in Nova Scotia are available, and these have expiry dates which are dependent on specific requirements, such as summer replacements, etc.
  2. For purposes of solemnizing marriages, a group counts as an "established religious body" in Nova Scotia only if either (a) they have been established and recognized in Nova Scotia for at least 5 years, or (b) they can prove that they have been established and recognized in another Province or Territory of Canada for 10 years.

For purposes of solemnizing marriages, to be recognized in Nova Scotia as a "religious body", there are several things a group must do (such as provide the Registry with a copy of their constitution and bylaws, etc.) For more information on these requirements, please contact the Registrar (see Where can you get...., above)

Legislative Authority:
  Solemnization of Marriage Act, Revised Statutes of Nova Scotia, 1989, Chapter 436

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