1867 – 1930
During this period only the Federal Parliament could grant divorces. Notices of divorces were listed at the back of the Statues of Canada volume for the year they were passed. Those wishing to obtain a divorce had to publish their intention in their local newspaper and in the Canada Gazette.
Divorce in Canada 1841 – 1968
This database at “Ancestor Search” that contains 12,732 references to acts published in official publications of the Government of Canada between 1841 and 1968. The database lists the names of the parties, reference, year and citation. The Search Help provides the names of the publication over the years and suggestion one use the AMICUS site to find where copies of the various books can be found. This is generally in provincial archives, legislative and university libraries. The entries would include information about the petitioner and their spouse, including maiden name of the wife, their place(s) of residence, date and place of their marriage and the grounds under which the divorce is being sought.
This article provides background information to the procedure for divorce during this time frame and has an index to names found in the records
Since 1968 divorces have been registered with the Central Divorce Registry in Ottawa. This agency has an index to all divorces in Canada.
Department of Justice
Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings
P.O. Box 2730, Postal Station D
Ottawa ON K1P 5W7
Telephone: (613) 957-4519
Where to Find the Divorce Records
1931 – May 1949
The Supreme Court of Ontario has been able to grant divorces since 1931. The records for 1931 – 1949 are held at the Archives of Ontario. In order to access the records one needs to know the date and location where the divorce took place. The index can be found at the Archives or at the courthouse where the divorce took place.
June 1949 – 1969
The index for this time period is found on microfilm in the Reading Room at the Archives of Ontario. The index has the names of the spouse seeking the divorce and the defendants, the application date, the application number and the city where it was granted. Use this information to find the microfilm number that contains the file. See Research Guide 210 “Finding Divorce Files in Ontario” for more details.
July 1968 to the present
The Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings can supply you with the courthouse number where the divorce took place, the file number and the year that you need to get the divorce file. The actual file is located at the Archives of Ontario if the divorce took place prior to 1980. After that time they are found in the courthouse where the divorce was filed.
Complete details are found in Archives of Ontario Research Guide 210 “Finding Divorce Files in Ontario.”