Child marriage is legal and persists across Canada

Over 3,600 marriage certificates were issued to children under the age of 18 between 2000 and 2018

Canada is at the forefront of global efforts to end child marriage abroad. Yet this practice remains legal and persists across the country. In Canada, more than 3,600 marriage certificates were issued to children, usually girls, under the age of 18 between 2000 and 2018, according to a new study from researchers at McGill University. In recent years, an increasing number of child marriages have been common-law unions.

Child marriage, defined as formal or informal (common-law) marriage before the age of 18, is a globally-recognized indicator of gender inequality because the negative consequences for health and personal development disproportionately affect girls. While much research has focused on developing countries, in wealthier nations like Canada, child marriage practices are overlooked and understudied.

Using data from vital statistics agencies and recent censuses, the researchers found that child marriage remains in practice from coast to coast, with the highest estimates of formal marriage found in Alberta (0.03%) and Manitoba (0.04%), and the highest estimates of any type of child marriage (formal or common-law) in Saskatchewan (0.5%) and the territories (1.7%). The study, published in Population and Development Review, is the first to shed light on how common child marriages are in the country.

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Categories: Canada, The Muslim Times, Women

3 replies

  1. The interesting thing about the discussion about child marriage is that I never see that ‘the age of the start of sexual activity’ is taken into consideration. Ok, in ‘the West’ they do not care, but in Eastern nations (not only Muslim) often the age of the beginning of sexual activity is in fact equal to the age of marriage.

    Check this out:

    According to the 2015-2016 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) conducted by Statistics Canada, 21% (17.8%, 25.3%) of Simcoe Muskoka residents (15-64 years) reported having had their first sexual intercourse before the age of 16. This was significantly higher than the comparable provincial average, where 17% (15.8%, 17.6%) of the Ontario population (15-64 years) reporting having had their first sexual intercourse before the age of 16.

    So? Still push for prohibition of marriage before age 18 ?

    Just my personal thoughts…

    • It’s because their decision of ‘child-marriage’ does not take into consideration the moral aspect of these so-called ‘children’ being sexually active.

      They are only thinking about these kids being mentally mature. In fact, most western societies hardly have virgins (both male and female), in their early teens!

      Due to very lax morals being practiced and allowed around them, this is a fact.

      So, when officialdom arrives at the age of 18 as the marriageable age, they are deliberately overlooking the fact that these young adults have already been sexually active long before that age!

      It’s only in Eastern societies where morals still play a role, this decision of 18 years clashes with the moral beliefs of the people.

  2. I think it’s necessary to separate bodily menstrual activity, which can start as early as 9 years, from maturity, which comes at a later age. Yes, a girl can reproduce at that age. But very few girls would choose to be married off at an early age now and neither would their parents permit it, which would have been the case in the past in the Western world (just read about the monarchs in history), and that pattern is no doubt happening in the Eastern countries too. Of course, no one is suggesting that sexual activity should take place at such an early age, and it should be discouraged. But women are now generally getting married at a later age, many focusing on education and a working life/independence, and many choose not to get married at all but still have a relationship with a partner (although I personally would advocate marriage if children are involved). Sexual activity for women is regarded differently now, we don’t make it our business what a woman does with her body, and of course birth control does make it easier to take control of reproduction. Whether we like it or not, that is how it is. But young girls should be protected, although often difficult as they come into their teens. There are no easy answers. Change happens, for better or worse. But decisions should not be made by men, these are women’s bodies and women should take control.

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