When your marriage licence is due to expire!
I’ve been debating the idea of doing the few paper signing ceremonies I have left. And I’ve been reaching out to Registry Services to inquire if couples can get their licences extended if they are about to expire. Here is what I’ve found.
The issue of whether or not to continue to do elopements or paperwork-only services to solemnize the marriage licence has had varying opinions. Doug Ford’s announcement on the mandatory lockdown and stopping all non-essential services in the province would conclude that those of us who are licenced as Officiants should no longer be providing services unless it is deemed an emergency.
What is an emergency in the wedding world? When couples are dealing with an immigration process, they require the marriage certificate to get it started. It is a long process, so getting this one step completed gets them closer to completing the next steps to follow. And, hopefully, it gets completed before their loved one’s visa expires and they are forced to leave the country.
Its an emergency of the heart.
Currently, couples are feeling the urgency of getting their paperwork done because their marriage licence is due to expire in the next month. They do not want to have to purchase a new one.
Its an emergency of the pocket book.
Toronto City Clerks are suggesting that couples find an Officiant to simply sign the paperwork, but is it really simple? Or currently allowed? We are not only putting ourselves at risk of infection, but we may also be carriers of the virus and potentially inflecting others with our spittle of laughter and joy during the service. We can all bring our own pens, but in the end, we are all touching the paperwork and coming into contact with each other. Ethically, I do not feel like I can leave self-isolation to sign papers at this time. The sooner we all stop being in contact with each other, the sooner we can beat this thing.
No one has any answers right now.
Service Ontario has suggested that couples can write a letter requesting an extension on their marriage licence and to FAX that letter with a copy of their licence to the Service Ontario emergency number: 1-807-343-7459
I asked them if couples might also be able to send it via courier pigeon because that would likely be as accessible to them. She understood my concerns about this antiquated process, but it is based on legislation and protection of information reasons.
So here is my personal recommendation.
The only person who might be able to help you renew an expired licence is your MP. The City Clerk's Office agreed when I passed that idea by them. You can actually reach your MP by email. Since mail may be sent postage-free to any member of Parliament, I also recommend attaching a copy of your licence (since they are long, just the top with parts 1 and 2) with a letter to your local MP’s office. Explain that the province’s mandatory closures have prevented the licence from being completed before the expiration date, and that you’d like for your licence to be reissued at no additional cost.
Here is the link to find your MP and their mailing address: