November 7, 2007


Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act [1] permits the dependant of a deceased person to apply to the court for an order of support where a deceased person has failed to make adequate provision for the proper support of the dependant.

Who May Apply

Dependants include the following persons:

(1)     the spouse of the deceased;

(2)     persons who were married to each other by a marriage that was terminated or declared a nullity;

(3)     persons not married to each other who have cohabited continuously for a period not less than three years; or

(4)     persons not married to each other who have cohabited in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.[2]

Because same-sex marriage is now permitted in Ontario, same-sex spouses qualify as dependants.[3]


[1]R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26 (the “Act”).

[2] Section 57 of the Act.  Note that ‘dependants’ also include a parent, child, brother or sister of the deceased.

[3] In Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) 65 O.R. (3d) 161, [2003] O.J. No. 2268, the Court of Appeal reformulated the definition of marraige as a “voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others.”  Such persons, if married, are “spouses” under the Act.

Read the full paper: Dependant Support Claim by the Spouse, Common-Law Spouse, Same-Sex Partner or Ex-Spouse