Parental Recognition

All of these materials are under review

We will have updated information on the upcoming legislative changes to parental recognition as soon as possible. In the meantime, consult recent issues of our newsletter for updates.

We have added information about the updated paper Statement of Live Birth (Form 2) and a downloadable form below.

Updated: September 2016

Legislation Update

The changes made in committee are reflected in the latest draft of Bill 28: The All Families are Equal Act.
We anticipate that this act will pass, and that LGBTQ parents will have much better and easier access to accurate and appropriate parental recognition, with fewer barriers.

The full legislation draft is available here.

Here are a few highlights of the proposed changes. Once Bill 28 becomes law:

  • There will no longer a distinction between types of parents. A parent who gives birth will not have more legal rights than a parent who did not give birth.
  • Sperm donors are recognized as donors, not as parents.
  • Multiparent families will no longer need to go to court in order to recognize up to four parents from birth.
  • The legislation is written in language that recognizes the range of gender identities in our communities.
  • There is no longer a court process to recognize parents through surrogacy. When there is a surrogacy agreement in place, and all parents and the gestational carrier or surrogate agree, the surrogate will sign consent after the baby is at least 7 days old, and the parent or parents will be able to register the birth.

We are very pleased with the changes that this legislation will bring for LGBTQ parents across Ontario.

Bill 28 will be presented in the legislature for third reading and be put to a vote in the coming weeks.

Last updated: November 4, 2016

This set of public legal education resources helps LGBTQ parents understand legal recognition of parents in Ontario, find out what options are available to them, and pursue legal recognition of their families.

Appropriate and accurate family recognition is always in children’s best interests.

Which info sheet is right for you?

Three Paths to Parental Recognition

  • Birth Registration


    • The person who gives birth to a child is solely or jointly recognized as a parent
    • If the child was conceived with sperm from a parent or an unknown donor, two parents can be recognized through birth registration
    • If one parent provides the egg, one parent provides the sperm, and a third parent carries the pregnancy, all three parents can be recognized through the birth registration
    • Completed soon after birth by a parent or parents
    • Provides presumptive proof of parentage
  • Second Parent Adoption

    Recognizes a second parent

    • The person who gave birth to a child is already recognized through the birth registration and the parents wish to add a second parent, or both parents are already recognized through the birth registration and the parents want legal proof of their parentage
    • The parents must be in a spousal relationship, as defined by the Family Law Act
    • Any parental rights of formerly recognized parents or known sperm donors have been relinquished, or will be relinquished through the second parent adoption process
    • If deemed in the adoptee’s interest, a second parent adoption could be completed more than once
    • Children over the age of seven give informed consent to their adoption by a second parent
    • Provides definitive proof of parentage
  • Declaration of Parentage

    Most flexible

    • Judges rule on a declaration of parentage with the interests of the child as the guiding principle
    • Routine part of surrogacy. The child was conceived with the sperm or egg from a parent, or unknown or known donor(s)
    • The birth registration may or may not have been completed
    • Parents do not need to be spouses, as defined by the Family Law Act
    • Any parents could pursue a declaration of parentage at any time, for any reason
    • Provides definitive proof of parentage

Birth Registration in Ontario

This info sheet helps LGBTQ parents register the births of their children in Ontario. It provides information about the birth registration process and helps LGBTQ people anticipate and resolve some of the challenges they may encounter.

  • There are two ways to register a birth in Ontario:

    1. Online Newborn Registration Service
    2. Paper Statement of Live Birth (Form 2)

    This info sheet explains both processes and provides step-by-step instructions to help LGBTQ parents and their birth attendants navigate the process of registering their child’s birth.

    Please note: This document does not reflect the most recent update to the Statement of Live Birth, but we still consider it to be helpful information if you are completing a paper Statement of Live Birth form.

    Our info sheet will be updated as soon as possible.

    Table of Contents
    • Information for Birth Attendants
    • Information for LGBTQ Parent
    • Donor sperm, eggs, embryos
    • Two mothers
    • Conception with another parent’s egg
    • More than two parents
    • Sole parents
    • Surrogacy
    • Trans Parents
    • Notice of Live Birth
    • Statement of Live Birth
    • Online
    • Paper
    • Glossary
    • Frequently Asked Questions
    • Three Paths to Parental Recognition
    • Contacts

    Birth Registration in Ontario: LGBTQ Parenting Recognition

    Download .PDF from our library

UPDATED: Statement of Live Birth

  • statement-of-live-birth-form-2016-thumbnail-full

  • The Government of Ontario has updated the paper birth registration form to allow all parents to self-identify as Mother, Father, or Parent, regardless of who gives birth.

    This Statement of Live Birth form is available for parents who cannot or do not wish to use the online 4-in-1 bundle. The Statement of Live Birth form can be used by parent(s) who do not wish to have the terms ‘mother’ and ‘father/other parent’ appear on their child’s birth registration. Instead they can use this form and choose to be identified as ‘mother’, ‘father’ or ‘parent’.

    The form is available in our library: Statement of Live Birth

    This Statement of Live Birth form is available for parents as an interim measure to give parents the option of easily recording the title of their choice. The Government of Ontario is committed to making changes that will allow most parents to register their child’s birth online and apply for other services at the same time.

    If you are seeking a declaration of parentage, you must also use the paper Statement of Live Birth. You use the paper Statement of Live Birth after the court order declaring parentage has been issued.

    The Birth Registration info sheet below has more information, please feel free to contact us if you need any more information or help completing this form.

  • Second Parent Adoption in Ontario

    This info sheet helps LGBTQ parents to understand the second parent adoption process in Ontario. Most LGBTQ families hire a lawyer to pursue a second parent adoption on their behalf, while others have filed the paperwork for a second parent adoption themselves after seeking appropriate legal advice. This info sheet explains what second parent adoption is and how the legal process works.

    For instructions on how to complete a second parent adoption yourself, refer to our Second Parent Adoption Self-Help Legal Guide, below.

    Table of Contents
    • Overview
    • Birth Registration and Second Parent Adoption
    • Second parent adoption is an option
    • When second parent adoption is not an option
    • Legal Process
    • Independent Legal Advice
    • Changing your child’s name
    • Glossary
    • Additional Resources & Contacts

    Second Parent Adoption in Ontario thumbnail

    Download .PDF from our library

  • Declarations of Parentage in Ontario

    The most flexible form of parental recognition.

    This info sheet helps LGBTQ parents to understand the declaration of parentage process in Ontario. Most LGBTQ families hire a lawyer to pursue a declaration of parentage on their behalf.

    Table of Contents
    • Overview
    • Legal Process
    • Surrogacy
    • More than two parents
    • Recognizing an Established Parenting Relationship
    • Other scenarios
    • Precedents of interest
    • Additional Resources & Contacts
  • Declaration of Parentage in Ontario thumbnail

    Download .PDF from our library

Second Parent Adoption:

Self-Help Legal Kit

Several families have successfully completed their own second parent adoptions over the past two years using the instructions provided in the Self-Help Legal Guide.

Use these step-by-step instructions to:

  • complete the paperwork required for a second parent adoption
  • obtain independent legal advice for parents and sperm donors
  • file your own second parent adoption paperwork with the court
  • The Second Parent Adoption Self-Help Legal Kit includes very detailed instructions, worksheets and electronic copies of all the forms you will need to file to complete your own Second Parent Adoption in Ontario.

    The partially completed forms will help you get started, and we have prepared a set of completed sample forms as an example of the finished application.

    Full Kit

    • Self-Help Legal guide
    • Worksheet
    • Partially completed forms
    • Completed sample application
  • Second Parent Adoption - Self-Help Legal Guide Thumnail

    Download the entire kit from our library – free!

  • Self-Help Legal Guide

    Self-Help Legal Guide

  • Worksheet thumbnail


  • Partially completed forms thumbnail

    Partially completed forms

  • Completed sample application thumbnail

    Completed sample application

Need more information?

Our FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions – page includes more information about parental recognition in Ontario.

For additional information about these resources, please contact:

Andy Inkster

Health Promoter
(416) 324-4100 ext. 5276



The Birth Registration in Ontario Info Sheet expands on and replaces a brochure titled “Info on Birth Registration for Lesbian/Bi/Queer Women in Ontario” which was developed in partnership with Queer Parenting Programs at The 519 Church Street Community Centre, Family Service Toronto, the LGBTQ Parenting Network at Sherbourne Health Centre, and members of the communities we serve.

The LGBTQ Parenting Network is grateful to Jen Keystone for suggesting the Second Parent Adoption Self-Help Legal Guide as an information project we should take on.

We are also grateful for the work of Kathryn Palumbo and Michael Morgenthau, two law students who contributed to this project in their role as volunteers for Pro Bono Law Students Canada at the University of Toronto.

Other members of our communities, including Alison Dover, j wallace, Joanna Radbord, contributed to this project as well.


This public legal information is provided as a community resource. Every effort is made to ensure that this information is as current and accurate as possible, but we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information. Readers should verify the information before acting on it.  We welcome reports of errors and omissions as well as suggestions.

This information is not legal advice. For legal advice, please consult with a family lawyer.