Adult Adoption Law in Canada

Below are brief extracts from provincial legislation, with links to the provincial government website where the legislation can be read in full.   Citations are current as of July 2012.   Note that in some provinces, adult adoption is available via a petition to the court; while in other provinces, it may not be permitted or may be limited to specific circumstances.  Check provincial government websites for updates and further information..

NOTE: IT IS IMPORTANT TO OBTAIN PROFESSIONAL LEGAL ADVICE BEFORE PURSUING ANY ACTION.


Summaries:  Alberta | B.C. | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland and Labrador | Northwest Territories | Nova Scotia | Nunavit | Ontario | P.E.I. | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Yukon Territory


Legislative Citations: Alberta | B.C. | Manitoba | New Brunswick | Newfoundland and Labrador | Northwest Territories | Nova Scotia | Nunavit | Ontario | P.E.I. | Quebec | Saskatchewan | Yukon Territory


Summary: Is Adopting-Back Possible In Your Province?

Alberta – Yes. Any adult or two married adults may petition the court to adopt another adult.

British Columbia – No. In practice, this discriminatory law limits adult adoption to former foster children.

Manitoba – - Maybe. A judge in court decides whether to allow the adoption based on whether the “reason for the adoption is acceptable.” The judge is to take into consideration factors such as whether one applicant supported the other when the other was a child

New Brunswick - Maybe. Adult adoption is allowed when “the person adopting is older by a reasonable number of years than the person to be adopted; and (b) the reason for the adoption is acceptable to the court” (such as, again, being a former foster child)

Newfoundland and Labrador – No. Adult adoption not permitted.

Northwest Territories - No. In practice, this discriminatory law limits adult adoption to former foster children.

Nova Scotia - Yes.

Nunavit - No. In practice, this discriminatory law limits adult adoption to former foster children

Ontario - Yes.

Prince Edward Island - Yes.

Quebec - Maybe. There are requirements for the person(s) adopting to be 18 years older than the person to be adopted, and that they have supported him/her as a minor, but Courts may dispense with these requirements ” in the interest of the person to be adopted.”

Saskatchewan - Maybe. Adult adoption allowed “if the court considers the reason for the adoption to be acceptable.” The question is: what exactly is “acceptable”?

Yukon Territory - Maybe.The court may make an order granting an adoption where the court is satisfied “that it is proper and in the best interests of the person to be adopted that the adoption should take place.”

 

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Complete Legislative Citation For Each Jurisdiction:

Alberta

Adult Adoption Act Chapter A-4  (http://www.qp.alberta.ca/documents/Acts/A04.pdf)

Definition
1 In this Act, “Court” means the Court of Queen’s Bench. 1994 cA-2.3 s1

Application
2 This Act applies to the adoption of persons who are 18 years of age or older.1994 cA-2.3 s2

Petition for adoption order
3(1) An adult person may petition the Court in the prescribed form for an adoption order under this Act.
(2) A petition for an adoption order under this section must include
(a) an affidavit of the petitioner outlining the petitioner’s relationship to the person who the petitioner is petitioning to adopt and the reasons for adopting that person,
(b) an affidavit of the person to be adopted indicating the person’s consent to the adoption and outlining the person’s reasons for wishing to be adopted,
(c) a certified copy or extract of the record of birth of the person who is to be adopted made under the law respecting the registration of births in the province, territory, state or country in which the person was born, and
(d) a certified copy of any change of name certificate made under the law respecting change of name in the province, territory, state or country in which the change of name was obtained. 1994 cA-2.3 s3

Grant of adoption order
4 The Court may grant an adoption order under this Act if it is not contrary to the public interest to do so.1994 cA-2.3 s4

Residency requirement
5 An adoption order shall not be granted under this Act unless the petitioner is resident in Alberta and the person to be adopted is a Canadian citizen or is lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence.1994 cA-2.3 s5

Who may apply
6 A petition for an adoption order under this Act may only be made by one individual or jointly by two individuals who are spouses of one another.1994 cA-2.3 s6

Participation of person to be adopted
7 Where a petition for an adoption order is made under this Act, the Court shall consider the views and wishes of the person who is to be adopted and shall, on request, hear that person.1994 cA-2.3 s7

Private hearing
8 A petition for an adoption order under this Act may, in the discretion of the Court, be heard in private.1994 cA-2.3 s8

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Effect of an adoption order
9(1) For all purposes, when an adoption order is made, the petitioner is the parent of the adopted person as if the adopted
person had been born to the petitioner.
(2) Subject to subsection (3), for all purposes when an adoption order is made the adopted person ceases to be the child of the person’s previous parents and those previous parents cease to be the person’s parents.
(3) If the petitioner adopts a person who is the child of the petitioner’s spouse, the person does not cease to be the child of the spouse and that spouse does not cease to be the parent of that person.
(4) In any testamentary or other document, whether made before or after the coming into force of this Act, unless the contrary is expressed, a reference to a person or a group or class of persons described in terms of their relationship by blood or marriage to another person is deemed to refer to or to include, as the case may be, a person who comes within the description as a result of the person’s own adoption or the adoption of another person.
(5) For all purposes, when an adoption order is made, the relationship between the adopted person and any other person is the same as it would have been if the adopted person had been born to the adopting person.
(6) Subsections (2), (4) and (5) do not apply
(a) for the purposes of the laws relating to incest, and
(b) with respect to the prohibited degrees of marriage, to remove a person from a relationship in consanguinity that, but for this Act, would have existed between them.
(7) A marriage between 2 persons is prohibited if, as a result of an adoption order, the relationship between them is such that their marriage would be prohibited by the law respecting those relationships that bars the lawful solemnization of marriage.
(8) Nothing in this section affects an interest in property that has vested in a person before the making of an adoption order under this Act.1994 cA-2.3 s9

Issuance of certified copy
10 Not more than 35 days after an adoption order is made, the clerk of the Court shall
(a) if the adopted person was born in Alberta, send one certified copy of the order to the Director of Vital Statistics, or
(b) if the adopted person was born outside Alberta, send 2 certified copies of the order to the Director of Vital Statistics.1994 cA-2.3 s10
Appeal
11 An appeal from a decision of the Court under this Act may be made to the Court of Appeal not more than 30 days after the date on which the decision is made. 1994 cA-2.3 s11

Setting aside of adoption order
12(1) No application to set aside an adoption order shall be made after the expiration of one year from the date of the adoption order except on the ground that the order was procured by fraud.
(2) Notice of the nature, time and place of the hearing of an application under subsection (1) shall be served by the applicant on
(a) the adopting person, if that person is not the applicant,
(b) the adopted person, if that person is not the applicant, and
(c) any other person who in the opinion of the Court should be served.
(3) If the adoption order is set aside, the applicant for the order setting it aside shall serve a copy of the order setting it aside on all those required to be served under subsection (2).
(4) When an adoption is set aside,
(a) the adopted person ceases to be the child of the adopting person,
(b) the adopting person ceases to be the parent of the adopted person, and
(c) the relationships to one another of the adopted person and all persons are re-established as they were immediately before the adoption order was made. 1994 cA-2.3 s12

Regulations
13 The Lieutenant Governor in Council may make regulations
(a) prescribing the forms to be used for petitions, applications and orders under this Act;
(b) prescribing the fees that may be charged for a petition or application under this Act;
(c) prescribing the rules to be followed in a proceeding before the Court under this Act.

 

British Columbia

Adoption Act (RSBC 1996) Chapter 5Section  44 Adoption of adults

(1) One adult alone or 2 adults jointly may apply to the court to adopt another adult.

(2) The court may make the adoption order without the consent of anyone, except the person to be adopted, as long as the court

(a) is satisfied that that person, as a child, lived with the applicant as a member of the family and was maintained by the applicant until the person became self supporting or became an adult, and

(b) considers the reason for the adoption to be acceptable.

(3) An adoption order made with respect to an adult has the same effect as an adoption order made with respect
to a child.

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Manitoba

CCMS Chapter A2 The Adoption Act, DIVISION 7 – ADOPTION OF AN ADULT

Application
93 An application to adopt an adult shall be made in the prescribed form.

Conditions for adoption of adult
94(1) A judge may make an order of adoption of an adult without the consent of anyone, except the person to be adopted, as long as
(a) the person adopting is older by a reasonable number of years than the person to be adopted; and
(b) the reason for the adoption is acceptable to the judge hearing the application.

Support during minority to be considered by judge
94(2) Where an application is made to adopt an adult the judge shall take into consideration, in addition to any other relevant considerations, whether the care, support and control of the person to be adopted has been provided by the person applying to adopt for a reasonable time during the minority of the person to beadopted.

Director not served
95 An order of adoption of an adult may be made
(a) without service of the application for adoption on the director; and
(b) without requiring a report from an agency.ADOPTION S.M. 1997, c. 47 – Cap. A2

Documents filed in support of application
96 An application for an order of adoption under this Division shall be supported by
(a) the consent of the person to be adopted;
(b) the birth certificates of the person to be adopted and of the applicant; and, where applicable, by
(c) the marriage certificate of married applicants or the prescribed declaration of commitment of a
cohabiting couple;
(d) decrees nisi and absolute of divorce or divorce judgment and certificate of divorce; and
(e) the death certificate of the applicant’s spouse.

Effect of order
97 An order of adoption made with respect to 97 an adult has the same effect as an order of adoption made with respect to a child.

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New Brunswick

CHAPTER F-2.2 Family Services Act 1983, c.16, s.1., PART V ADOPTION

65(2) Any adult may be adopted where
(a) the person adopting is older by a reasonable number of years than the person to be adopted; and
(b) the reason for the adoption is acceptable to the court.

65(3) Where an application is made to adopt an adult the court shall take into consideration, in addition to such other considerations as appear to it to be relevant, whether the custody, care and support of the person to be adopted has been provided by the person applying to adopt for a reasonable time during the period of minority of the person to be adopted.

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Newfoundland and Labrador

CHAPTER A-2.1 AN ACT RESPECTING ADOPTIONS (http://www.assembly.nl.ca/legislation/sr/statutes/a02-1.htm)

The Act makes no mention of adult adoptions, and all persons the Act refers to as being adopted in the adoption process are “children” – defined in the Act as an unmarried persons under the age of 19.

Northwest Territories

Adoption, S.N.W.T. 1998, c. 9 (http://www.justice.gov.nt.ca/pdf/ACTS/Adoption.pdf)

Petition to adopt adult
28. (1) A person referred to in section 5 may, in accordance with this Act, petition to adopt a person who has attained the age of majority.

Application of Act to adoption of adult
(2) The provisions of this Act respecting the adoption of a child apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to the adoption of a person who has attained the age of majority.

Consent
(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the only consent required for an adoption referred to in this section is the consent of the person being adopted.

Family union report, affidavit of Director
(4) Notwithstanding subsection 27(2), unless the court orders otherwise, the family union report and affidavit of the Director referred to in that subsection need not be prepared for an adoption referred to in this section.

Other affidavits and material in support of petition
(5) Notwithstanding subsection 27(3), the petition must, in respect of the suitability of the petitioner to be an adoptive parent or, in the case of a joint petition, of each joint petitioner to be an adoptive parent, be further supported by affidavits of persons who are acceptable to the court and by any other material that the court may require. S.N.W.T. 2000,c.13,s.10.

Adoption order of adult
(3) An adoption order in respect of a person who has attained the age of majority shall not be made unless the court is satisfied that
(a) the petitioner, or in the case of a joint petition, each joint petitioner, has supported and treated as his or her own son or daughter the person who is to be adopted from the time the person began to live with the petitioner until the person attained the age of majority;
(b) the petitioner, or in the case of a joint petition, each joint petitioner, is capable and willing to assume the responsibilities of a parent toward the person who is to be adopted;
(c) the adoption is in the best interests of the person who is to be adopted;
(d) it is not contrary to the public interest to issue an adoption order; and
(e) the requirements of this Act have been complied with, except where dispensed with or waived by the court under this Act.

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Nova Scotia

Children and Family Services Act (RSNS 1990) CHAPTER 5

Right to adopt
72 (1) A person of the age of majority may, in the manner herein provided, adopt as that persons child another person
younger than that person where:
(a) the applicant resides or is domiciled in the Province; or
(b) the person proposed to be adopted was born, resides or is domiciled in the Province or is a child in care.

Spouse of applicant as co-applicant
(2) Subject to this Section, if the applicant has a husband or wife, who is over the age of majority and is of sound mind,
the husband or wife shall join in the application.

Spouse of applicant is father or mother
(3) If the husband or wife of the applicant is the father or mother of the person proposed to be adopted, although not
over the age of majority, he or she may join in the application.

Legitimate parent
(4) The husband or wife of the applicant if he or she is also the legitimate parent of the person proposed to be adopted,
need not join in the application, and in that case the relationship of such husband or wife or of his or her kindred with
the person proposed to be adopted continues and is in no way altered by any order for adoption made in favour of the
applicant, who becomes the other parent of the person proposed to be adopted by such an order.

Effect of death of one applicant
(5) Where one of the applicants for an adoption dies after notice of the proposed adoption has been given to the
Minister, the surviving applicant may proceed with the application and an order for adoption by the surviving applicant
alone may be made.

Consenting person as adopting parent
(6) A person whose consent to an adoption is required by this Act is not prohibited from becoming a father or mother
by adoption of the person in respect of whom the person has given consent to adopt. 1990, c. 5, s. 72.

Application for adoption
73 An application for adoption shall be made to the court. 1990, c. 5, ss. 73, 109.

Adoption of person 12 or more
74 (1) Where the person proposed to be adopted is twelve years of age or more and of sound mind, no order for the
persons adoption shall be made without the persons written consent.

Consent of spouse of proposed adoptee
(2) Where the person proposed to be adopted is married, no order for the persons adoption shall be made without the
written consent of the persons spouse.

 

Nunavit

Adoption Act, SNWT (Nu) 1998, c 9

Petition to adopt adult
28. (1) A person referred to in section 5 may, in accordance with this Act, petition to adopt a person who has attained the age of majority.

(2) The provisions of this Act respecting the adoption of a child apply, with such modifications as the circumstances require, to the adoption of a person who has attained the age of majority.

(3) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, the only consent required for an adoption referred to in this
section is the consent of the person being adopted.

(4) Notwithstanding subsection 27(2), unless the court orders otherwise, the family union report and affidavit of the Director referred to in sections 8 and 27(2) need not be prepared for an adoption referred to in this section.

(5) Notwithstanding subsection 27(3), the petition must, in respect of the suitability of the petitioner to be an adoptive parent or, in the case of a joint petition, of each joint petitioner to be an adoptive parent, be further supported by affidavits of persons who are acceptable to the court and by any other material that the court may require.

Adoption Order
34. (3) An adoption order in respect of a person who has attained the age of majority shall not be made unless the court is satisfied that
(a) the petitioner has supported and treated as his or her own son or daughter the person who is to be adopted from the time the person began to live with the petitioner until the person attained the age of majority;
(b) the petitioner is capable and willing to assume the responsibilities of a parent toward the person who is to be adopted;
(c) the adoption is in the best interests of the person who is to be adopted;
(d) it is not contrary to the public interest to issue an order of adoption; and
(e) the requirements of this Act have been complied with, except where dispensed with or waived by the court under this Act.

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Ontario

Child and Family Services Act R.S.O. 1990, c. C-11, PART VII ADOPTION, 146. Adoption of child

Adoption of adult, etc.
(3) The court may make an order for the adoption of,
(a) a person eighteen years of age or more; or
(b) a child who is sixteen years of age or more and has withdrawn from parental control,
on another person’s application. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 146 (1-3).

Who may apply
(4) An application under this section may only be made,
(a) by one individual;
(b) jointly, by two individuals who are spouses of one another; or
(c) by any other individuals that the court may allow, having regard to the best interests of the child. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 146 (4); 1999, c. 6, s. 6.

Residency requirement
(5) The court shall not make an order under this section for the adoption of, or on the application of, a person who is not a resident of Ontario. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 146 (5).

Participation of adult, etc.
(4) Where an application is made for an order for the adoption of a person under subsection 146 (3), the court
shall consider the person’s views and wishes and, on request, hear the person. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.11, s. 152 (2-4).

Change of name
153. (1) Where the court makes an order under section 146, the court may, at the request of the applicant or applicants and, where the person adopted is twelve years of age or more, with the person’s written consent,
(a) change the person’s surname to a surname that the person could have been given if he or she had been born to the applicant or applicants; and
(b) change the person’s given name.

Prince Edward Island

CHAPTER A-4.1 ADOPTION ACT
SPECIAL PROVISIONS

Adult adoptee
28. (1) A person may apply to adopt a competent adult and the court may so order.

Quebec

Civil Code of Quebec (S.Q. 1991, c. 64), Book 2 The Family , Title 2 Filiation

CHAPTER 2 ADOPTION
SECTION 1 CONDITIONS FOR ADOPTION

§1. — General provisions
543. No adoption may take place except in the interest of the child and on the conditions prescribed by law.
No adoption may take place for the purpose of confirming filiation already established by blood.

545. No person of full age may be adopted except by the persons who stood in loco parentis towards him when he was a minor. The court, however, may dispense with this requirement in the interest of the person to be adopted.

547. A person may not be an adopter unless he is at least eighteen years older than the person adopted, except where the person adopted is the child of the spouse of the adopter. The court may, however, dispense with this requirement in the interest of the person to be adopted.

SECTION III  EFFECTS OF ADOPTION
577. Adoption confers on the adopted person a filiation which replaces his original filiation. The adopted person ceases to belong to his original family, subject to any impediments to marriage.

Saskatchewan

The Adoption Act 1998, Chapter A-5.1

24. Adoption of an adult
24(1) A person who is 18 years of age or more may be adopted if:
(a) subject to subsection (3), the person consents; and
(b) the court considers the reason for the adoption to be acceptable.

(2) An application for an order of adoption of a person mentioned in subsection (1) may be made by:
(a) married adults jointly;
(b) an unmarried adult; or
(c) any other person or persons that the court may allow, having regard to the reasons for the adoption.

(3) If the person to be adopted pursuant to this section is unable to give or understand consent, the court may dispense with the requirement of the person’s consent.

(4) Sections 4 to 8, 27 to 30 and 34 do not apply to an adoption pursuant to this section.

Yukon Territory

CHILDREN’S ACT Chapter 22

PART 3 – ADOPTION, Eligibility and consent of adoptive parents
79.(1) Any person who has reached the age of majority may, in the manner herein provided, adopt as his child another person younger than himself.

(2) Where the applicant has a spouse who is over the age of majority and that spouse is not a parent of the person who the applicant seeks to adopt, the court shall not hear the application or order the adoption unless that spouse applies for the adoption jointly with the applicant.

(3) Where the applicant has a spouse and that spouse is a parent of the person who the applicant seeks to adopt, that spouse may apply for the adoption jointly with the applicant, but regardless of whether that spouse joins in the application, the court shall hear the application and may make an order for adoption.

(4) Where one of the applicants or intended applicants dies after notice of the proposed adoption has been given to the director, the surviving applicant may proceed with the application and an order for adoption by him alone may be made.

(5) A person whose consent to an adoption is required by this Act is not prohibited from becoming a parent by adoption of the person in respect of whom he has given consent to adopt.

Required consents
82.(1) Where the person proposed to be adopted is 12 years of age or older and is capable of giving an informed consent, no order for his adoption shall be made without his written consent.

(2) Where the person proposed to be adopted is married, no order for his adoption shall be made without the written consent of his spouse.

Revocation of consent
84.(1) A person whose consent to an adoption is required under section 82
(a) may revoke his consent within 30 days of having given the consent, and to revoke it he does not have to give reasons or show any cause, or
(b) may revoke his consent at any time within 30 days or more after having given the consent if he satisfies the court that it is in the best interests of the child that the consent be revoked.

91.(1) The court may make an order granting an adoption where the court is satisfied .. (c) that it is proper and in the best interests of the person to be adopted that the adoption should take place.

 


Useful Links:

Origins Canada – Adoption support group for natural mothers, natural fathers, and adoptees.