Common law unions fall under provincial jurisdiction, and are treated differently in different provinces.In British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, for example, couples must live together in a conjugal relationship for two years before they have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples.Today, first unions among Canadian couples are more likely to be co-habitations rather than marriages.
In 2011, for the first time in Canadian history, there were also more single-person households than couple households with children, a trend that was again reflected in the 2016 census.
Over the last century, marriage rates have fluctuated and often corresponded with historical events.
During the Great Depression the rate fell, presumably related to high unemployment and negative economic conditions.
During and following the Second World War there were fewer single men, which lowered the number of marrying couples.
This has implications both during the marriage and towards its end.